It has been nearly 14 years since the last time Kate and Gerry McCann saw Madeleine, their little three-year-old daughter, who vanished from a holiday apartment in May 2007.
At the time of her disappearance, she was having a vacation with her father and mother in the seaside village of Praia da Luz in Algarve, Portugal.
News of the missing girl sent shockwaves across Europe and sparked a search of international scale.
One of the latest developments in the case includes identifying a suspect, but until today it remains unsolved, and Madeleine’s body has not been found.
Years of investigations have been filled with suspicions, speculations, misidentifications, yet little success.
A British newspaper group was ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in libel damages for throwing baseless claims about the involvement of Madeleine’s parents in her disappearance.
Madeleine’s photo stayed in the headlines across tabloids for years, often accompanied by rumors about what had happened that day and her whereabouts. Here is the story so far.
Madeleine McCann was having a vacation with her parents and two-year-old twin siblings in Portugal starting on April 28, 2007. Nobody noticed anything peculiar or out of the ordinary for several days until the night of Thursday, May 3.
That night her parents went for dinner with a group of friends at a nearby restaurant.
Since Madeleine stayed in the apartment with her twin brother and sister, father and mother took a turn to leave the restaurant and check on their kids every half hour or so. When Kate McCann did the check at 10 p.m., Madeleine had disappeared.
9 Immediate Search
Police were immediately notified. Together with staff and guests, they search the complex until daybreak.
In the following days, hundreds of volunteers joined efforts to help find the missing girl. At that time, Portuguese police believed Madeleine had been abducted and was still alive.
On May 26, the police released a description of a man seen possibly carrying a child on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance.
It was based on the information given by Jake Tanner, one of the friends with whom Kate and Gerry McCann had dinner at the restaurant.