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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 November 2007, 00:32 GMT
McCanns mark six months of search
Gerry and Kate McCann
The McCanns remain suspects in the case, but deny any involvement
Madeleine McCann's mother has appealed for new information about her daughter's whereabouts to mark six months since her disappearance.

Kate McCann said she retained "hope that we can be reunited".

She and her husband, Gerry, marked the day at an ecumenical prayer service at the Church of St Mary and St John in their Leicestershire home town.

Madeleine, of Rothley, vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal on 3 May, days before her fourth birthday.

'Nothing to hide'

The McCanns, both 39, remain suspects with "arguido" status in the case, but deny any involvement.

Following the vigil, family spokesman Clarence Mitchell spoke to BBC News 24 about recent speculation surrounding the case.

He rebutted reports that friends who dined with the McCanns on the night of Madeleine's disappearance are soon to be designated as suspects by Portuguese police.

He said: "If the Portuguese police choose to re-interview some of their friends, it may happen, that is for the Portuguese police and Portuguese authorities to decide.

Kate and Gerry should be eliminated from the inquiry because they are entirely innocent
Clarence Mitchell

"So far they have not said that... we've had no indication whatsoever that the friends will be made arguido."

Mr Mitchell also responded to speculation that the Portuguese authorities may shortly close the case.

He said: "Well, I hope they wrap it up by finding Madeleine of course, that's what we all want.

"If the Portuguese police are in a position to one, find Madeleine, or at least establish what has happened to her within the next seven weeks, well then that's good news.

"The first stage of that will be that Kate and Gerry should be eliminated from the inquiry because they are entirely innocent. They have nothing to hide."

Madeleine McCann (April 2007 pic)
The McCanns released a new picture of Madeleine

Mr McCann returned to his job as a consultant cardiologist at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital on Thursday, after being on unpaid leave since Madeleine went missing.

He will initially work three half-days a week, and will have no direct contact with patients.

Kate McCann works as a part-time GP in Melton Mowbray but as yet has no plans to return to work.

In a statement to mark the sixth month since their daughter's disappearance, she said: "There is no doubt that the best place for her to be is with her family.

"We know somebody somewhere can make this happen. That person has the ability and power to bring about so much joy as well as bring peace to themselves."

She urged anyone with information regarding the child's whereabouts to "pass it on".

The McCanns also released a new picture of Madeleine, taken a week before her family holiday in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz.

The background to Madeleine's disappearance

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