Madeleine McCann: Father Opens Up About Daughter's 'Painful' Disappearance 11 Years Later

Gerry McCann, the father of missing British girl Madeleine McCann, opened up about the young girl’s disappearance 11 years after the three-year-old went missing during a family vacation in Portugal. McCann said thinking about the day his daughter disappeared was too “painful.”

The toddler went missing on May 3, 2007, while the McCann family was on vacation in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Maddie’s disappearance quickly grabbed international headlines and became one of the most heavily covered missing person cases.

Kate and Gerry McCann Kate and Gerry McCann hold an age-progressed police image of their daughter during a news conference to mark the 5th anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, on May 2, 2012, in London. Three-year-old Madeleine went missing while on holiday with her parents in the Algarve region of Portugal in May 2007. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

McCann told BBC Radio 4 that he had not thought about the day of his daughter’s disappearance in a long time because it was too “painful.” He noted that when Maddie disappeared, the family “very quick raised the alarm” to Portuguese authorities.

“You’re in this quiet little holiday resort—that seemed idyllic—out of season and I certainly didn’t speak Portuguese so I asked (our friend) Matt to go to reception and ask them to call the police,” he said. McCann told the BBC that he instinctively knew his daughter had been taken.

“I couldn’t get the darkest thoughts out of our minds, that somebody had taken her and abused her,” he said. “I felt that every moment that we couldn’t find her was worse.”

McCann said that eventually he began calling family members back home and asking them to pray for his daughter. He and his wife Kate waited “forever” for police to arrive, McCann said. “It just felt terrible,” he added.

He continued: “We went then to another apartment, by which time it was three or four in the morning and Kate was saying, ‘I want to go back out and search.’”

Madeleine McCann A picture of missing toddler Madeleine McCann is held by her aunt Philomena McCann as she gives television interviews after visiting Parliament on May 16, 2007, in London. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Six years after Maddie disappeared, four suspects were identified, but no action was taken by authorities, news.com.au reported. In 2013, Scotland Yard launched Operation Grange to find the young girl.

In September, Metropolitan Police requested additional funding from the Home Office to extend the $15.1 million (£11.6m) investigation. Police were granted an additional $195,600 (£150,000) in March to continue the probe for another three months, The Independent reported.

The Home Office announced late in September that it had received the application for funding through March 2019. “The Home Office maintains an ongoing dialogue with the MPS regarding funding for Operation Grange,” it said in a statement, adding that it was considering the request.

The McCann’s have promised to never give up their search for their young daughter.

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