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Madeleine McCann: Parents say finding truth is essential 15 years on

In a Facebook post, Kate and Gerry McCann said this year “feels no harder than any other but no easier either”.

“Madeleine will always be our daughter and a truly horrific crime has been committed,” they wrote.

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Three-year-old Madeleine disappeared during a family holiday in Portugal on 3 May 2007. She has never been found.

Last month, Portuguese prosecutors made German man Christian Brueckner a formal suspect, although they did not formally reveal his name.

On the eve of the anniversary, the McCanns said: “This year we mark fifteen years since we last saw Madeleine… 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.”

They also expressed gratitude to the UK, Portuguese and German authorities for their ongoing work, and their supporters “for their continued good wishes”.

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

Alongside the post, they included a quote from Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne which read: “But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”

Tuesday marks exactly 15 years since Madeleine was reported missing, meaning under Portuguese law it will no longer be possible to declare someone a person of interest. Doing so is a necessary step to any criminal charges.

However, a Portuguese official previously said the move to declare Brueckner an “arguido” was not driven by timing, but by “strong indications” of the practice of a crime.

Brueckner is currently serving a prison sentence for drug offences in Germany and was also given a seven-year term for raping a 72-year-old woman.

The 45-year-old has not been charged and strongly denies any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police said it remained “committed to doing what we can to find answers”.

The force launched its own investigation, Operation Grange, into Madeleine’s disappearance in 2013.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell, who leads Operation Grange, said: “Fifteen years on from Madeleine’s disappearance in Praia Da Luz our thoughts, as always, are with her family.

“Officers continue to investigate the case and our dedicated team are still working closely with law enforcement colleagues from the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria as well as the German Bundeskriminalamt [federal police].

“At this time, the case remains a missing person’s inquiry.”

Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, went missing from a holiday apartment block in Praia da Luz, sparking a heavily-chronicled missing person case.

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