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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 August 2007, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
McCanns call for faster response
Madeleine McCann
Saturday marked the 100th day since Madeleine disappeared

Madeleine McCann's parents have called for a faster international response from police in the immediate hours after a child is reported as missing.

"The response time in Europe has to be quicker," said Madeleine's mother, Kate McCann on a video posted on YouTube.

The four-year-old's parents also voiced concerns that the strategy of high publicity could mean an abductor "might keep her hidden".

But they said previous abduction cases showed the benefit of public awareness.

The parents of the child, who disappeared on 3 May in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, were speaking on the Don't You Forget About Me channel on the YouTube website, set up to help find Madeleine and other missing children.

'Not suspects'

Mr and Mrs McCann spoke of the need for a more co-ordinated approach to reports of missing children - such as a two-hour response time, just like the one in operation in the United States.

"The laws in the States are very different to here, and well ahead of the game," Mrs McCann said.

"They've got their Amber Alert, so within two hours of a child getting taken a police report has to be filed."

Kate and Gerry McCann
We felt rather than sit back and not do anything this was the way to go
Kate McCann on the high-profile search

The also acknowledged that there could be a downside to the publicity they had generated in searching for their daughter - but argued that on balance it was the best option.

"A few people have said to us, too much publicity might not be good because whoever's got her might keep her hidden," said Mrs McCann.

"Obviously everything we're doing at the moment has a slight risk to it, which is a horrible situation to be in when you're dealing with your daughter.

"But overall we felt rather than sit back and not do anything this was the way to go," she said, in a video made for the website.

In a weekend that saw the 100th day since Madeleine's disappearance, the Portuguese police emphasised that her parents were "victims" and not suspects.

Blood test

Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa 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.

We've had incredible pain over the last three months and we pray that Madeleine hasn't
Gerry McCann

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.

'Constant ache'

The couple were said to be "heartened" by official confirmation that they were not being treated as suspects

Kate and Gerry McCann
The McCanns have spoken of the importance of their faith

But speaking on the BBC's Heaven and Earth show, Mrs McCann said that any anger over media speculation was overshadowed by her pain at missing her daughter.

"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," she said.

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.

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."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The ongoing inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance



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