Published On: Tue, May 23rd, 2023
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Lengthy search for Madeleine McCann has ‘exhausted’ her mother, says Esther McVey | UK | News

A close family friend has said that the lengthy search for Madeleine McCann has left her mother Kate “exhausted.” 

Conservative MP Esther McVey – who went to school with McCann  – says she hopes the new searches taking place in Portugal “bring it to a conclusion and an end”. And she also explained why she thinks Madeleine’s case has been headline news around the world since her disappearance.

It comes as recent tip-offs received by the police have prompted a large search operation in Portugal – which has once again catapulted the story into global news cycles. Police have been meticulously searching the banks of a reservoir with the assistance of sniffer dogs, rakes, and pickaxes as part of the ongoing investigation.  

READ MORE: Madeleine McCann search police spotted carrying ‘a number of bags’ away

Emergency service divers were observed on a rigid-hull inflatable boat early Tuesday morning at the Barragem do Arade, located approximately 30 miles from Praia da Luz, where the three-year-old went missing in 2007.

Officers concentrated their search efforts in a specific area of the reservoir, setting up white tents on a hill along the banks. Nearby, emergency services and officials from Portugal, Germany, and the UK were seen holding briefings near blue police tents.

In the designated search zone, uniformed and plain-clothed officers spent several hours scouring the banks, utilizing pickaxes to dig into the ground and rakes and spades to sift through small rocks. A cordoned-off access road led to the search area, marked by police tape and vehicles from Portugal’s National Republican Guard.

These new searches coincide with the Home Office granting an additional £110,000 in funding for the Metropolitan Police’s efforts to find Madeleine, a decrease from the previous year’s funding of just over £300,000. Since 2011, Operation Grange has received a total funding of just under £13.1 million.

Speaking on GB News, McVey said: “Seeing the pictures of the search has brought a lump to my throat. I can’t believe it’s 16 years ago.

“There has been so many false hopes and horizons. People have spotted her, there’s been tip-offs and new information, yet we haven’t found her.  I genuinely hope for the family that this does bring it to a conclusion and an end.

“When I last spoke to Kate [McCann], she said ‘living with hope is exhausting. Not sleeping, waking up every moment, hoping I will see her. It’s just exhausting’.”

McVey also explained why she thinks Madeleine’s case has made headline news around the world since her disappearance. And she said that the McCanns have helped other parents who have missing children. 

McVey told GB News: “Why did it catch a light? This was front page news day after day on an international scale. People thought ‘it could have been me’.

“There were families and communities coming together. You had the Liverpool family, Kate’s family, the Scottish family from Gerry’s side.  Everybody seemed to be talking about it, and I remember saying at the time that it’s as if Madeleine McCann has shone a bright light on the very dark world of missing children and child abduction.

“Yes, it’s about Madeleine, but we must open this up to help other missing children, Gerry and Kate did that by making sure there is an amber alert system around Europe for missing children.”

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell said: “The Met continues to work with and support colleagues in Portugal and Germany, with their investigations into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

“Met officers will be in Portugal and I am grateful to the Polícia Judiciária and Bundeskriminalamt for allowing us to be present whilst their work is ongoing, so that we can inform Madeleine’s family of any developments.”

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