Praia da Luz marks one year since Madeleine disappeared
Members of the McCann family, including Gerry’s brother John (pictured second from right), released yellow and green balloons outside Praia da Luz church on Saturday, May 3, to mark one year since Madeleine disappeared. John McCann told journalists that the family would never feel comfortable returning to Portugal until Madeleine had been found. Read full report inside. Photo: MARK RAWCLIFFE/PORTUGALIMAGES
A SPECIAL service was held to remember Madeleine and all missing children at the Nossa Senhora da Luz church in Praia da Luz on Saturday evening (May 3).
The emotional service, in both English and Portuguese, was conducted by the local catholic priest José Manuel Pacheco and resident Anglican Church priest Father Haynes Hubbard.
Yellow and green candles were handed out to the congregation to be lit during the service to serve as a light of hope. And yellow wrist bands from the Find Madeleine campaign were also given out and a photographic slide show of Madeleine was played to music to emphasise the positivity the McCann family has shown in the search for Madeleine.
Members of the McCann family, including Gerry McCann’s brother John, who arrived in Portugal earlier this morning, were present at the service and read a letter from Kate and Gerry to the congregation.
Padre José Manuel Pacheco and Father Haynes Hubbard leave the church in Praia da Luz after Saturday's service. Photo: Mark Rawcliffe - PORTUGAL IMAGES
In the letter, Kate and Gerry thanked the people of Praia da Luz for their initial and ongoing support, as well as their efforts to help in the search to find their daughter, when she went missing one year ago.
The letter spoke of Gerry and Kate’s hope that they will one day find their daughter and that their family can once
again be complete.
Members of the McCann family release yellow and green balloons. Photo: MARK RAWCLIFFE/PORTUGAL IMAGES
After the service, members of the McCann family stood outside the church with members of the congregation around them in a large circle and released yellow and green balloons.
John McCann told The Resident that this evening, members of the family would all be taking part in a private and symbolic lighting of candles.
“This is to symbolise lighting the way home for Madeleine,” he said.
Murat's lawyer not worried about his client's position
ROBERT MURAT'S lawyer Dr Francisco Pagarete told The Resident’s Eloise Walton that he is not worried about his client's position.
When asked about his client's position regarding a report in the
Portuguese newspaper Expresso that the PJ may soon release Gerry and Kate McCann from their status as official suspects (arguidos), he said: “I am not at all worried about my client's position.”
Dr Francisco Pagarete speaking outside the McCanns' holiday apartment. Photo: Mark Rawcliffe, PORTUGAL IMAGES
He went on to say that “it is blatantly clear that Robert Murat had absolutely nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance on the night of May 3, 2007.”
Speaking on Saturday (May 3) outside the apartment where Madeleine was last seen 365 days ago, he said “he believes that the Polícia Judiciaria suspect that Murat is innocent of any wrong doing”.
When asked about the past year from his client's perspective, Dr Pagarete said: “The first four months were the most difficult for Robert, especially with the huge media attention on him and the disappearance of the then three year old toddler.”
John McCann "torn to be back in the Algarve"
PRAIA DA Luz is a beautiful place but the McCann family will never
feel comfortable returning until Madeleine had been found, Gerry McCann’s brother told a packed press conference in the Algarve on Saturday afternoon (May 3).
Gerry McCann's brother John shows the new Find Madeleine poster to the press in Praia da Luz on Saturday afternoon. Photo: MARK RAWCLIFFE, PORTUGAL IMAGES
John McCann, spoke at length to journalists on the beachfront in the resort.
They had arrived late in the morning for the 1.30pm conference so that they could be in Praia da Luz exactly one year after Madeleine disappeared during a family holiday.
John McCann thanked everyone for coming and showing the sort of support that the family had received throughout the year from residents of the town, the Algarve, Portugal and the rest of the world.
A positive and hopeful John McCann showed the latest Find Madeleine poster, which bore a new telephone number and asked the press to help get the word out in a renewed appeal to keep people looking and searching for Madeleine and leaving “no stone unturned”.
“Kate and Gerry have been working extensively on the issue of missing children and recently visited the National Centre of Missing Children in the US,” he said, “where statistics show that around 40 to 50 per cent of missing children are recovered.”
John McCann said that he was torn to be back in the Algarve.
“Praia da Luz is a beautiful place, although the family would never be completely happy or feel comfortable returning until Madeleine had been found.”
“There is still a substantial amount of money left in the Madeleine fund. At the last count there was around 850,000 pounds,” he said
“We talk as a family about what more we can do to find Madeleine and we will leave no stone, that we can afford, unturned.”
Speaking on behalf of the family, John McCann said that he knows Kate and Gerry considered coming to Praia da Luz today but decided to spend the day quietly at home with close friends and family, adding that he was not aware if Sean and Amelie, Madeleine’s brother and sister, knew about the significance of today.
“Our specific purpose is to conduct a vigil tonight, where we will mark the anniversary,” he added. “Last year, father José Manuel Pacheco spoke of strength, courage and hope and we want to continue that.”
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