Grieving mother of lost daughter prays 'every day' for Madeleine

11 August 2007
Irish Independent

The grieving mother of a child who disappeared without trace 30 years ago has revealed that she prays every day that Madeleine McCann, who vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal exactly 100 days ago, will be found alive and safe.

Ann Boyle, whose daughter Mary went missing in 1977, knows more than most what English couple Kate and Gerry McCann are going through. But she said they must soon face the heartwrenching choice that she and her husband had to make all those years ago.


Little Mary Boyle was visiting her grandparents in Cashelard, Co Donegal, with her family when she went missing on St Patrick's Day. Despite a major search in the remote countryside close to the border in the following weeks, no trace of the child was found and Ann and Charlie Boyle made the agonising decision to scale down the search and return home to Kincasslagh, 50 miles away.

"While we searched for Mary our other children were being reared apart from us and from each other by two uncles. "Charlie and I had to face up to the fact that we had to get them together and make a home for them again."

Ann added that after 100 days of searching for their missing three-year-old, the McCanns must be wrestling with the same dilemma. "My heart goes out to them. If she isn't found - and I pray every day that she will be - they will know themselves in their own hearts when they must try and return to a normal life. "It won't be truly normal. It can never be. It will be one day at a time. That's the way I coped," she said.

Ann recalled that some time between six and eight weeks after Mary disappeared, she and Charlie knew they had to go home. "It was the longest 50 miles of my life." She said that for years afterwards she lived in "a very false world".

"I believed that someone 'good' had taken Mary, perhaps a couple who couldn't have children of their own and wanted one so badly that they just had to take someone else's. "I was convinced that whoever took Mary was caring for her and loving her. "I had to think that or I wouldn't have coped," she said.


She added that as Mary's twin sister Ann grew up, she slowly accepted that Mary must have been killed by a mystery abductor.

Ann feels close to Gerry and Kate McCann not just because they share with her the pain of the loss of a child. Gerry has roots in Co Donegal and Ann knows some of his relatives. Joe Peoples, the Donegal publican who recently met the family when they visited the St Johnston pub once owned by Madeleine's grandfather, has urged her parents not to give up hope.

Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors