Parents Kate and Gerry McCann discuss the case

Search continues for Madeleine McCann
1 June 2007
NBC News: Today

MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: But we're going to begin with the search for Madeleine McCann. We're going to talk to her parents in a moment. But first, the latest on the case from NBC's Keith Miller.

KEITH MILLER reporting: They have moved mountains in the search for daughter Madeleine. Pictures of the missing four-year-old are plastered all across Europe. There was a video appeal during a championship soccer match...

Unidentified Reporter: (From news program) Every day Madeleine's parents...

MILLER: ...and almost nonstop coverage on British television.

Ms. KATE McCANN: Everybody's efforts are helping us.

MILLER: This week the couple, devout Catholics, received a personal blessing from the pope that had Kate McCann near tears. But for all the nonstop news conferences and heartfelt appeals for Madeleine's safe return, there are no solid clues.

Mr. GERRY McCANN: I think it's fair to say we'll never be the same again.

MILLER: Since there is no ransom demand, police are working on the theory that this was a professional kidnapping, carried out at the resort in Portugal where the McCanns were vacationing. The family's ordeal has reached the highest level of British society. Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, sent their prayers. And there's the reward: $5 million donated by businessmen, television and sports stars.

The missing Madeleine Web site has received more than 135 million hits but no new leads on how the little girl disappeared from her bed almost a month ago. The frustration and despair of the parents can only be balanced by their unshakable belief that Madeleine is alive somewhere. Today the McCanns are in Spain. Government ministers there promise to do all they can. And wherever they go, Kate McCann can be seen clutching Madeleine's favorite stuffed toy, holding on tight to Cuddle Cat and hope. For TODAY, Keith Miller, NBC News, London.

VIEIRA: Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann are in Madrid this morning.

Good morning to both of you and thanks for joining us.

Mr. McCANN: Morning, Meredith.

Ms. McCANN: Morning, Meredith.

VIEIRA: On Sunday it will be a month since Madeleine has gone missing. And as a parent myself, I cannot imagine how difficult this whole situation is for you now.

Kate, let me ask you first, how have you and Gerry gotten through these past few weeks? What has sustained you?

Ms. McCANN: Certainly, the first four days, Meredith, it was incredibly difficult, as any parent can imagine. And...

Mr. McCANN: We've had a tremendous amount of support from close family and friends, and we've also taken a tremendous amount of strength from our faith and the hope and good wishes of the local community in Praia da Luz, who have supported us during this.

Ms. McCANN: I think, as well, it's important to remember that at this time we don't have any evidence at all to say that Madeleine isn't alive and well. And therefore, that does give us hope. And it's important for us to stay positive and focused, both for us and also for Madeleine.

VIEIRA: We have seen so many pictures of your daughter in the past few weeks, and we know some details about her physical appearance. We know she's 2'11" tall with blond hair and green hazel eyes. But are there any unique physical characteristics or markings that might help someone to identify your daughter?

Mr. McCANN: The main thing, Meredith, is she has very distinctive eyes, particularly on the right eye. And I brought a photograph here, which I can show. And this is available on our Web site at []. And the poster there is in many different languages. But you can see in that that she has a slight defect in her right iris, which is really quite striking. Other than that, she's like a normal little four-year-old girl.

VIEIRA: I know that you have two other children, two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie. They were in the room with Madeleine at that Portuguese resort the night that she disappeared. I understand they're only two, but did they say anything about their night--have--of that night? Have they said anything about what might have happened?

Ms. McCANN: I think they're too young, to be honest, Meredith. I mean, you know, they were sleeping as well. But they're aware that Madeleine isn't around. I mean, Amelie has made the off comment about, `Where's Madeleine?' And they do point to pictures of her or they'll point to her toys and say `Madeleine's.' But fortunately, I think, for them, they are just that bit too young, really, to really have any great idea of what is happening. And certainly at that age, you don't have much concept of time. And they do spend about 95 percent of the time together, Sean and Amelie. And they do have days in nursery where they're in a different--they're in a different group to Madeleine, so they are used to having spells of time without her. So, fortunately, whether it's a day or whether it's 29 days, I don't think they've got a real handle on that, which I think is fortunate.

VIEIRA: Meanwhile, we have heard several reports about different suspects. From what you know, are there any particular leads--specific leads that the police are following at this point?

Mr. McCANN: We're confident that the police have a very large volume of information which has been given to them by members of the public, and there are a number of leads which are being followed. I think it's also fair to say that there is information which is not divulged to us and wouldn't be divulged to us in the UK either for operational reasons. But the police, Portuguese, with the help of the British police, are working through all this information systematically. And we are still hopeful that that information allied to possibly someone, a member of the public coming forward to report suspicious behavior, will lead us to our daughter.

VIEIRA: During the course of this investigation, Kate and Gerry, the police questioned you about why you left your children in that hotel room while you went to have dinner, even if the restaurant was just 50 to 100 yards away. Given all the pain that you are going through, how do you respond to some of the criticism that has been directed at you?

Ms. McCANN: I think at worst, we could possibly call ourselves naive. But, you know, we're very responsible parents and we love our children very much.

VIEIRA: And there are so many people who are thinking of you, the outpouring of support overwhelming, as you know. I know that you're in Madrid now. And you're going to go to other countries, not just to spread the word about your daughter but to talk about missing children in general. Why are you doing this?

Mr. McCANN: There's two reasons why we are doing it. The first thing is that our advice from experts says that raised awareness of Madeleine's disappearance is likely to increase the likelihood of her being found. And you can understand and any parent can understand our preoccupation is for finding Madeleine. We do realize now that there is a wider issue about missing children cases and about abuse of children, and of course, we are very supportive of these issues. And they need to be publicized to decrease the chances of this ever happening again to any other family. And we should certainly not wish anyone to have to go through what we have done.

VIEIRA: Gerry and Kate McCann, as you know, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you so much for joining us.

Mr. McCANN: Thank you.

Ms. McCANN: Thank you. Thank you.

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