The parents of missing Madeleine McCann have said they are "heartened" that the Portuguese police do not consider them suspects in the case.
Earlier, Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa publicly declared that Kate and Gerry McCann, and their friends who were on holiday with them, were not suspects.
He told the BBC the parents were "victims" who had lost their child and also witnesses in the case.
He also acknowledged for the first time that the four-year-old may be dead.
Mr Sousa said new clues, taken together, had given "intensity" to that line of inquiry.
He was referring to traces of blood found inside the apartment room where Madeleine was sleeping, which are now being analysed by forensic scientists in Britain.
Mr Sousa refused to confirm or deny reports in Portuguese newspapers that sniffer dogs had detected odours of a dead body that had been in the apartment in Praia da Luz.
The BBC's Steve Kingstone say the investigation now hinges on the results of the forensic tests, which are expected at the end of this week.
Under Portuguese law, police are not normally allowed to speak publicly about the details of an investigation.
Mr and Mrs McCann have spoken to the BBC's Heaven and Earth show about Madeleine's disappearance.
Mrs McCann was asked if she was angry about the recent press speculation that they were being treated as suspects, but said the pain of missing her daughter was worse.
She said: "We've had the worst and nothing's going to be as bad as that really so, we'll just ride through it really."
She added: "We just want Madeleine back, you know, and all this speculation will go on - and we've just got to ignore it really and keep focused."
The couple also talked about how their Catholic faith has been a comfort to them.
Mrs McCann said that she had a "constant ache" and admitted she had lost her faith but only for brief periods.
"It's usually in those darker moments when that fear and panic sets in again and you find yourself saying why, why, why do this to Madeleine, why have you let this happen?" she said.
"I kind of calm down and realise that God hasn't done this, somebody else has."
Mr McCann said "if the worst possible scenario happens", then he was at least comforted by the belief Madeleine was "in a better place".
Asked if they could ever forgive the person who had taken Madeleine, Mr McCann said: "We don't know who's taken her, we don't know why they've taken her and we don't know what's happened to Madeleine, so it's very difficult to forgive in advance.
"We've had incredible pain over the last three months and we pray that Madeleine hasn't."
'Hope and pray'
Following Mr Sousa's comments, a spokeswoman for the McCann family said: "It is obviously heartening that the police in Portugal have finally confirmed that Kate and Gerry McCann are not suspects following the hurtful and unhelpful comments that have been made this week.
"Kate and Gerry understand that the police in Portugal are working hard to do everything in their power to find Madeleine McCann.
"They continue to hope and pray that Madeleine is still alive."
Well-wishers applauded the McCanns after the special service
Mr Sousa spoke on Saturday after Kate and Gerry McCann attended a church service marking 100 days since Madeleine's disappearance.
The couple have sought solace in the church of Nossa Senhora da Luz since Madeleine disappeared on 3 May while they were having dinner at a nearby restaurant.
On Saturday, Mrs McCann asked the congregation to "stay with" her and her family as they continued their "journey of hope" and to keep Madeleine in their prayers.