McCanns issue heartbreaking update as they raise hopes for ‘answers’ in Madeleine case

McCann suspect 'significant breakthrough' says former investigator

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The heartbroken parents are appealing for answers after the police’s chief suspect insists he was many miles from the scene at the time of the little girl’s disappearance in 2007 but police confirm they so far have not found any evidence to exonerate him from the case.

To illustrate their thoughts on the fifteenth anniversary of Madeline’s disappearance, her parents posted the quote on the Find Madeline website, alongside a drawing of Pooh and Piglet.

The poignant quote said: “But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”

Kate and Gerry McCann also wrote: “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.”

They added: “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.”

Their daughter, who was just three at the time, vanished from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on 3 May, 2007.

The parents are holding out hope that one day she will be found alive despite there being no trace of her since that day.

Kate and Gerry published the quote at the same time the man suspected of abducting the little girl, Christian B, insists he was many miles from the scene, having sex in his camper van with a young woman who was holidaying with her parents.

Christian, who is a convicted sex offender, told police he drove the young woman to the airport at Faro, Portugal, for a flight home the next day and they were stopped and photographed at a police roadblock.

German drifter Christian B also claimed the woman was arrested at the airport for carrying illegal pepper spray.

The suspect claims the Portuguese police must have records of the events.

The German police are understood to have found a photograph of the woman lying in his camper van during their investigation into a rape for which the 44-year-old German national is currently serving a seven-year jail sentence.

When he first spoke of his alibi it is believed that Christian B could not recall the woman’s full name. However, it is understood that he has since been able to identify her.

If it’s true, his alibi would contradict vital but circumstantial evidence from mobile phone data masts that police say outs him close to the apartment where three-year-old Madeleine vanished from her bed 15 years ago.

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The police have said that suspect’s phone was in the village when it received a call sometime between the times 7.32pm to 8.02pm, and Madeline is believed to have gone missing between 9 and 10pm the same night.

Christian B insists that by 10pm he had driven miles along the coast east towards Faro.

German prosecutors had not, until April 21, interviewed Christian B who has been the police’s chief suspect for more than four years.

German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the Madeleine investigation with Portuguese and British detectives, said there has been no evidence so far to exonerate him from the case.

He said what they have found out so far has been “rather incriminating” for the suspect but insisted he couldn’t “elaborate” for now.

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