The discovery of three women who went missing separately 10 years ago in the US has given the parents of Madeleine McCann renewed hope that she will be found, they said today.
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who all went missing in separate incidents a decade ago, were found alive and well in a house in Cleveland, Ohio, after allegedly being held prisoner by three brothers.
Ms Berry disappeared aged 16 on April 21, 2003 on her way home from work at a burger restaurant. Ms DeJesus went missing aged 14 on her way home from school about a year later. Ms Knight went missing in 2002 and is 32 now.
They were rescued from the house, just a few miles from where they vanished, along with a six-year-old girl apparently born to one of them while in captivity, after Ms Berry was freed by neighbours who heard her screaming.
She made a frantic telephone call to emergency services and told them she had been abducted.
Neighbours said they previously had no idea the women were in the house and were first alerted when they heard someone kicking at a door, yelling for help and trying desperately to get outside the house.
Last week, Kate and Gerry McCann marked the sixth anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance. Madeleine, then aged nearly four, vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve on May 3 2007, as her parents dined with friends nearby.
Today, the McCanns said the rescue of the women in Ohio “reaffirmed” their hope of finding their daughter.
“The discovery of these young women reaffirms our hope of finding Madeleine, which has never diminished,” they said in a statement.
“Their recovery is also further evidence that children are sometimes abducted and kept for long periods.
“So we ask the public to remain vigilant in the ongoing search for Madeleine.
“Our thoughts are with the women in America and their families.”
Mrs McCann is currently visiting Portugal, and is expected to return home to the UK shortly.
Last week she and her husband said their family, including twins Sean and Amelie, now eight, had found a “new normality” since Madeleine’s disappearance.
They also said they remained as hopeful as ever – if not more so – as a case review by the Metropolitan Police was under way.