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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 May 2007, 03:04 GMT 04:04 UK
Anguish of missing girl's parents
Madeleine McCann
Madeleine disappeared while her parents were at a restaurant
The parents of a three-year-old girl feared abducted on a family holiday in Portugal have spoken of their "anguish and despair" at her disappearance.

Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley in Leicestershire, pleaded for the return of their "beautiful" Madeleine.

Madeleine vanished from an apartment bedroom on Thursday evening while her parents were at a nearby restaurant.

Police are continuing the search for her. Pictures of her have been widely distributed, and ports put on alert.

'Let her home'

On Friday Mr McCann, with his wife at his side, read out an emotional statement outside the holiday apartments.

Mr and Mrs McCann
Mr and Mrs McCann made an emotional appeal for information

"We cannot describe the anguish and despair we are feeling as parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine," he said.

"We request that anyone with any information relating to Madeleine's disappearance, no matter how trivial, contact the Portuguese police and help us get her back safely."

He then addressed anyone who may be holding Madeleine, saying: "Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister."

Nothing stolen

The McCanns had been staying at the Mark Warner Ocean Summer Club in the Algarve village of Praia da Luz.

Mr and Mrs McCann, both 38-year-old doctors, had been dining in a tapas restaurant a few hundred yards from the apartment on Thursday evening.

They had been checking on Madeleine and her younger brother and sister, two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, every half an hour.

McCann family
The door was lying open, the window in the bedroom and the shutters had been jemmied open
Gerry McCann

Mr McCann told the girl's aunt, Trish Cameron, from Dumbarton near Glasgow, that at about 2200 that night they had found the door open, with the bedroom window and shutters jemmied open.

"Nothing had been touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports," she said.

"They think someone must have come in the window and gone out the door with her."

Extra police teams have been brought in from Lisbon to help the search for Madeleine, and tracker dogs have been used. Police have notified border police, Spanish police and airports.

The British ambassador, John Buck, who came down from Lisbon to support the family, said the search had been both "intensive and extensive" and the police had assured him everything possible was being done.

A senior Portuguese police officer told the BBC the investigation was going well and he was confident, but he refused to elaborate on what that might mean.

'Worried sick'

Fellow holidaymakers and staff from the British travel firm Mark Warner have also been looking for the little girl.

One British tourist at the resort urged anyone who had seen anything to tell the police.

Map of Praia da Luz

"There are a lot of people here at the moment. There are lot of tourists, there are a lot of locals and sometimes you don't realise what you've seen," she said.

"So if anyone does go through their thoughts again and if they think possibly, they just need to get in touch with the authorities."

Another said: "We're very, very shocked at the news. We've been in Portugal a few times, we've been here in Luz, this is the second year, we were here last year. And this particular place is known as a friendly and safe place for families."

Relatives have flown out to the resort from Manchester to be with the distraught couple.

Speaking from his home in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, Madeleine's maternal grandfather Brian Healey said they were "worried sick".

Mark Warner UK Operations Director Craig Mayhew and family liaison officers from Leicestershire police are also travelling to Portugal.




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Madeleine's parents appeal for information



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