Kate and Gerry McCann have spoken of their renewed hope that their daughter Madeleine will be found five years on from her disappearance in Portugal.
Mrs McCann said an ongoing review of the case by Scotland Yard and the release of a new age-progression picture of Madeleine had left them feeling “probably as positive” as they had been for a long time.
“We are realistic. We don’t know what has happened but we know there is a very good chance that she could be alive – there is no evidence to the contrary,” Mrs McCann told presenter Lorraine Kelly on ITV’s Lorraine.
“We know year after year, missing children, children that have been abducted, are found alive.”
Her remarks come as the couple, from Rothley, Leicestershire in England, prepare to mark the anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance tomorrow.
In the interview, Mrs McCann praised the new age-progression photograph of Madeleine and appealed to the public to circulate the image as widely as possible.
The Metropolitan Police released the picture last week of what Madeleine might look like now, coming up to her ninth birthday on May 12.
Mrs McCann, 44, said: “We would be really keen – the general public helped us with the last age-progression – so we would be really keen for them, really grateful, if they could circulate that image as far and wide as they can.”
The couple’s interview come after Scotland Yard’s review of the case was revealed to have identified 200 potential leads.
But the Portuguese authorities have so far refused to reopen their investigation into how the little girl vanished on a family holiday to the Algarve on May 3, 2007.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, the officer leading the Scotland Yard review, spoke last week of his belief that the case can still be solved and launched a fresh appeal for information.
His team of 37 officers have sifted through 40,000 pieces of information and identified 195 “investigative opportunities”.
Mr Redwood has said he believes Madeleine was a victim of stranger abduction and says there is evidence she could still be alive.
Madeleine was nearly four years old when she vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz as her parents dined with friends at a tapas bar nearby.
The McCanns repeated their hope that Portuguese police will now reopen the case.
Mr McCann said: “In previous years we have felt like we have been on our own to a large extent and now we have got (a) tremendous resource, doing a great job.
“We feel so much better supported and you know that those things that we have been talking about for the last three and a half years about looking at every single piece of information, that’s going on.
“We are happy to be led by the police and let the Metropolitan Police do the negotiations with the Portuguese authorities.
“But it does feel now finally someone in the authorities, British authorities, are actually trying to find Madeleine, who is completely innocent of course.”
Mrs McCann also thanked the public for the support they had received for their campaign.
“I don’t believe we would have got the review without their support,” she said.
“People have petitioned and petitioned and petitioned and you know, wrote letters, and here we are. And we just hope, obviously, that the case will get reopened in due course because we certainly believe that is our best shot at finding Madeleine.”