Irish gran joins search Maddy for ‘kidnapped’

5 May 2007
Evening Herald
Cormac Looney
Fears grow for safety of three-year-old girl in holiday snatch

The Irish grandmother of a three-year-old girl feared abducted in the Algarve has travelled to Portugal to help with the search for her. Maddy McCann is believed to have been taken as she slept in a holiday complex at Praia da Luz, a popular tourist destination with Irish families. She is now missing for almost 48 hours.

Maddy’s grandmother, Ellen, from Burtonport, Co Donegal, has now arrived in Portugal to assist with the search and comfort the Maddy’s parents, Gerry and Kate, both doctors aged 38. Ellen, whose father Joseph Ferry owned a pub in the fishing village of Burtonport, moved from Donegal to Scotland where she married and settled down.

Her son and daughter-in-law made the nightmare discovery that their daughter had been snatched when they went to check the cot in which she had been sleeping at 10pm on Thursday, between her siblings, two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.

Her parents were checking the cot every 30 minutes on Thursday evening while they dined in a tapas bar 120 feet away.

Maddy’s aunt Trish said: “When Kate checked, she came out screaming. Maddy had gone. The door was open and the window in the bedroom and the shutters were jimmied open. Nothing had been touched and no valuables had been taken”.

Maddy’s parents, from Rothley in Leicestershire, have appealed for her safe return. “We cannot describe the anguish and despair we are feeling as parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine,” they said.

“We request that anyone with any information relating to Madeleine’s disappearance, no matter how trivial, contact the Portuguese police and help us get her back safely,” Gerry McCann said.


He then addressed anyone who may be holding Madeleine, saying: “Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister.”

The McCanns had been staying at the Mark Warner Ocean Summer Club in the Algarve village of Praia da Luz. It is about an hour’s drive from Faro airport.

Extra police teams have been brought in from Lisbon to help the search for Madeleine.

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