Madeleine McCann’s parents are still hopeful that their daughter is still alive

Their daughter's case, who went missing 13 years ago, has been reopened and still pending investigation after a new suspect was identified.

German police said Thursday they presume a British girl who went missing in southern Portugal 13 years ago is dead, but Madeleine McCann’s parents still nurture hope their daughter will be found alive

McCann was three years old at the time of her disappearance from an apartment while her family vacationed in the seaside town of Praia da Luz, in Portugal’s Algarve region, in 2007.

Police in Germany reported Wednesday they had identified a suspect, a 43-year-old German citizen currently imprisoned in his home country for a sexual crime. They did not name him.

The suspect spent numerous years in Portugal, including in Praia da Luz around the time of McCann’s disappearance, and has two previous convictions for “sexual contact with girls.”

Police in Portugal and the United Kingdom confirmed the new lead in the long-running case. They did not explain why, after so many years, suspicion had now fallen on the German man, who was registered in the German city of Braunschweig before he moved abroad.

Hans Christian Wolters, a prosecutor in Braunschweig, Germany, told reporters the man is being investigated on suspicion of murder.

“You can infer from that we assume the girl is dead,” Wolters said.

The development, though grim, raised hopes that the mystery surrounding the case might finally be resolved

Authorities have never before given so much detailed information about any suspect during the years of investigating the child’s disappearance, which received worldwide attention.

Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said on their website that their hope of seeing their daughter again had not faded.

“All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice,” the couple, who live in the U.K., wrote. “We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace.”

Wolters, the prosecutor, wouldn’t give any other details of the suspect’s identity so as not to jeopardise the ongoing investigation.

German police said the suspect, described as white with short, blond hair and a slim build, was linked to a camper van seen in Portugal’s Algarve region in 2007.

Portuguese, British and German police appealed for the public’s help in building their case against the suspect, asking people if they remembered seeing him in or around Praia da Luz 13 years ago.

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