MADELEINE McCann’s parents have released a heartbreaking statement on the 12th anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance.
The tragic tot disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on the evening of May 3, 2007.
British and Portuguese police afterwards launched an enormous operation, but the desperate hunt continues 12 years later.
Former GP Kate, 51, now a medical worker, and heart worker Gerry, 50, have refused to give up hope.
They said in a joint statement today: “It’s that time of year again. As much as we’d like to fast forward the first couple of weeks of May, there’s no getting around it.
“The months and years roll by too quickly; Madeleine will be sixteen this month. It’s impossible to put into words just how that makes us feel.
“There is comfort and reassurance though in knowing that the investigation continues and many people around the world remain vigilant.
“Thank you to everyone who continues to support us and for your ongoing hope and belief.
“For as long as it takes.”
The couple from Rothley, Leicestershire, will gather for a memorial service in their home village later today.
Scotland Yard yesterday confirmed it has applied for more funds from the Home Office in the search for Maddie.
Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick said: “We have active lines of inquiries and I think the public would expect us to see those through.
“A very small team continues to work on this case with Portuguese colleagues and we have put in an application to the Home Office for further funding.”
The investigation has so far cost UK taxpayers approximately £11.75 million.