MADELEINE McCann’s parents have likened the painstaking search for their daughter as being “like Groundhog day” as they face their 15th Christmas without her.
In a heartbreaking message to their supporters, Kate and Gerry revealed that “work and progress” continues in the global hunt for Maddie but with “no significant” developments.
The couple said that they had hoped for an outcome in their daughter’s fate by now.
Renowned heart doctor Gerry and GP-turned-medical worker Kate, both 53, referred to the coronavirus pandemic and the sadness of “more suffering for many.”
Kate, who has returned to work with the NHS front line to help fight Covid, and Gerry posted: "It feels a little bit like Groundhog day with Covid and its requirement for social distancing and face-masks and sadly more suffering for many.”
In a message on the official Find Maddie Campaign Facebook page, the McCanns from Rothley, Leicestershire, wrote: "We’d all hoped and probably expected things to be quite different by now.
"It’s a little similar in some ways with the investigation to find Madeleine…work and progress continue but with no significant news to share at this stage.”
Kate, who is working in one of the country’s worst-hit Covid cities and her husband took time to thank well-wishers who have supported them since three-year-old Maddie vanished from a Portuguese holiday apartment in May 2007.
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They wrote: "Despite this, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass to say a very big ‘Thank you’ once again to all our supporters.
"This is our fifteenth Christmas without Madeleine and yet we still receive so many kind words of encouragement and support, not to mention the many Christmas cards.
"Amazing and humbling – thank you so much."
The couple, who have 16-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, signed off with a ribbon symbol of hope and the words: "Wishing you all an enjoyable and peaceful Christmas.
"Stay safe and warmest wishes for a brighter 2022. Kate and Gerry.”
Britain's top police force has vowed to continue searching for Maddie, who if still alive, would now be aged 18.
Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick said they will carry on “until there is nothing left to do.”
She told recently how the force is still "working closely” with German and Portuguese authorities after it was revealed that new evidence had come to light strengthening the case against prime suspect Christian B.
But Ms Dick said she couldn't share operational details about a potential breakthrough.
The Met Police’s costly £12.5 million Maddie inquiry, codenamed Operation Grange, has “no funding issue at the moment,” Dame Cressida said.
'NEVER GIVE UP'
The task force is set to receive another £300,000 Home Office grant to keep it running until at least next spring.
Maddie was just nine days away from her fourth birthday when she disappeared and her case remains the biggest unsolved missing child case in the world.
She was snatched from an apartment in Praia da Luz while her parents were dining in a nearby tapas restaurant with pals. She had been left sleeping alone with her younger twin siblings.
Brave Kate and Gerry cling onto a glimmer of hope that their daughter could still be alive and have vowed never to give up searching.
They try to keep the festive season as fun and normal as possible for the sake of their twins.
Kate previously said the occasion is always “tinged with pain and longing” adding: “Madeleine should be here and we should be celebrating with her.
"But we have not lost hope that we may get to celebrate another Christmas with her."
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