Madeleine McCann parents: who are Kate and Gerry McCann, when were they suspects, and what have they said?

May 2022 marks the 15 year anniversary of the disappearance of their three-year-old daughter in Portugal

Madeleine McCann’s parents Kate and Gerry have released a statement on the 15th anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance.

The three-year old went missing from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.

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Her disappearance has been a highly-debated topic ever since, with the McCanns themselves being both declared and cleared as suspects.

In 2022, authorities named convicted rapist Christian Brueckner as the main suspect in Madeleine’s abduction.

Here’s everything you need to know about who Madeleine McCann’s parents are - and what they have said on the anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance.

Who are Kate and Gerry McCann?

Kate and Gerry McCann are the parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann, who disappeared whilst on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on 3 May, 2007, days before her 4th birthday.

The couple met in 1993 whilst studying to be doctors in Scotland. Gerry studied at the University of Glasgow and went on to become a cardiologist, whilst Kate studied at the University of Dundee and worked in gynaecology before becoming a GP.

The 54-year olds both continue to work for the NHS in Leicester. Gerry is still a cardiologist and Kate returned to work as a hospital doctor in 2021 to help with the Covid-19 pandemic.

They married in 1998, and Madeleine was born in 2003 after being conceived by IVF. The couple’s twins Sean and Amelie were born in 2005 and the family settled in Rothley in Leicestershire.

During a holiday in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, their daughter Madeleine disappeared from the family’s hotel apartment.

The child had been left alone with her siblings whilst the adults dined at a nearby tapas restaurant.

The McCanns were initially treated as suspects, but this was ruled out by the Portuguese authorities in 2008.

In 2011, Kate McCann wrote a book about her daughter’s disappearance titled: “Madeleine: Our Daughter’s Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her.”

The pair have remained married and in her book Kate McCann recalls how her husband supported her, writing: "He would put his arm round me, reassuring me and telling me that he loved me."

Why were the McCanns treated as suspects?

The McCanns were made suspects by the Portuguese police who believed that they had accidentally killed their daughter and covered up the crime.

Authorities claimed that a sniffer dog, brought in to check their apartment and rental car, alerted their handler to the scent of blood 13 times.

Tests on the samples from the Forensic Science Service laboratory in Birmingham proved inconclusive.

Kate was brought in for questioning by the Portuguese police, the transcript of which was leaked to the media.

The McCanns were never formally charged and in 2008, they were removed as suspects by Portugal’s Attorney General due to lack of evidence.

They have always maintained that they are innocent and had nothing to do with their daughter’s disappearance.

Is there a suspect now?

Christian Brueckner from Germany has been named as a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.

In 2019 he was convicted of raping a 72-year old woman in Portugal in 2005, close to where Madeleine went missing.

However, there is not yet enough evidence to charge Brueckner with the crime.

Speaking in a TV interview German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said new evidence against Brueckner had been found.

He told Portuguese TV journalist Sandra Felgueiras on the TV channel CMTV: “The investigation is still going on and I think we found some new facts, some new evidence, not forensic evidence, but evidence.”

What did Kate and Gerry say on the anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance?

The McCanns issued a statement on their Find Madeleine website to mark the anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance.

The McCanns said: “This year we mark fifteen years since we last saw Madeleine. It feels no harder than any other but no easier either. It’s a very long time.

"Many people talk about the need for ‘closure’. It’s always felt a strange term. Regardless of outcome, Madeleine will always be our daughter and a truly horrific crime has been committed. These things will remain.

"It is true though that uncertainty creates weakness; knowledge and certainty give strength, and for this reason our need for answers, for the truth, is essential.

“We are grateful for the ongoing work and commitment of the UK, Portuguese and German authorities as it is this combined police effort which will yield results and bring us those answers.”

They finished their statement by thanking supporters “for their continued good wishes and support.”

Commenting: “It is a huge comfort to know that regardless of time passed, Madeleine is still in people’s hearts and minds. Thank you.”

The statement was shared alongside a drawing of Winne the Pooh and Piglet, with a quote from A.A. Milne: “But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”