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Parents of missing U.K. girl issue holiday plea

The parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann issued a video on Saturday with a new plea for information about her whereabouts and a special Christmas message to their daughter to "be brave".
/ Source: Reuters

The parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann issued a video on Saturday with a new plea for information about her whereabouts and a special Christmas message to their daughter to "be brave".

McCann disappeared more than seven months ago shortly before her fourth birthday during a family holiday in the Portuguese beach resort of Praia da Luz.

Her parents, who Portuguese police have named as formal suspects, believe she was abducted from their holiday apartment as they had dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.

"Madeleine it seems unlikely that you'll hear this, but just in case it's mummy and daddy here," her mother Kate, said in the appeal which included footage of Madeleine opening her Christmas presents from last year.

"Just know how much we love you Madeleine. We all miss you so much. We are doing everything we can Madeleine to find you. Be brave sweetheart, our only Christmas wish is for you to be back with us again."

Every twist and turn of the police investigation has been poured over in the British media and the story regularly makes front page news in the country's newspapers.

'Hardest Christmas imaginable'
In the latest video recorded at their home in Rothley, central England, Madeleine's father Gerry said it would be the "hardest Christmas imaginable" for their family. He said someone must know what had happened to his daughter and where she was.

"That person has it within their power to show us the compassion to end this terrible ordeal for us," he said.

Kate McCann made a direct appeal to this person saying they could end "all this despair and anguish".

"At this time of year when so many families are coming together, we beg you to help us to be reunited with Madeleine.

Please do the right thing and come forward," she said, barely holding back tears.

A week ago, the McCanns said Madeleine's younger siblings hoped Santa Claus would bring their missing sister home.

They also said they had bought presents for their daughter and would try to make the festive season as normal as possible for their toddler twins, Sean and Amelie.

The couple have hired private investigators to help find their daughter after police named them as suspects in September.

The only other suspect is a Briton living in Praia da Luz. Despite a string of possible sightings and a huge police investigation, the girl's whereabouts remains a mystery.