|Madeleine McCann's parents ready to continue search |
if police end investigation into her disappearance
The parents of Madeleine McCann are preparing for the police probe into their daughter’s disappearance to be shelved, their spokesman said today.
Kate and Gerry McCann continue to pump thousands of pounds into a special fund for use when the official investigation, code-named Operation Grange and launched more than four years ago, finally ends.
Family spokesperson Clarence Mitchell said today: “They realise it cannot go on forever.”
He added: “Kate and Gerry remain incredibly grateful to the Met Police for their continuing work and effort and are grateful to everyone who continues to make Operation Grange possible.
“The Government and police make the decision about funding, it is not Kate and Gerry’s role.”
He told how former GP Kate and heart doctor Gerry, both 37, (actually they're 47) of Rothley, Leics, had moved money from the publicly-backed Find Maddie Fund into a special account in anticipation of having to finance the hunt for their daughter themselves.
Mr Mitchell said: “In a common sense and practical move, they have kept some money back from the Find Madeleine Fund in case it is needed for an ongoing search.”
A source close to the family said: “Kate and Gerry firmly believe Madeleine could still be alive and when the police investigation ends, they have vowed to continue looking for her.
"They don’t know when this will be, there has been so suggestion yet, but they want to be ready and have set aside huge chunks of money for this reason.”
Three-year-old Maddie was snatched during a family holiday in Portugal’s Praia da Luz in May 2007. She would now be aged 12.
As Maddie’s parents brace themselves for being told Operation Grange will end, the family source said: “Kate and Gerry know the investigation will come to an end at some point, especially with police budget cuts but they haven’t been advised when.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Office remains committed to supporting the search for Madeleine McCann.
"Over the last four years we have given the Metropolitan Police the resources they say they need to investigate her disappearance, and we continue to do so.”
Sources in Portugal today insisted there was no evidence to suggest Operation Grange was going to be shelved in the short or medium term.
However, the ex-head of the Metropolitan Police's Flying Squad, John O'Connor, has questioned whether probe should continue. Mr O'Connor told the newspaper's Tom Wells: 'If there are no firm leads, and by that I mean no substantial operational things like active surveillance on suspects, then I'd have thought they should be considering winding it down.
'You can't keep chasing shadows. Chasing sightings all over the world. It depends on whether the detectives are making any real progress. For me, it needs to be reviewed by a senior officer.'
There have been no updates on the investigation since a change in the lead investigator at the beginning of the year.