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Parents plead for information on missing child

Image: Maddy McCann
An unsigned note with a likeness of missing 4-year-old Madeleine McCann is alongside a lighted candle at Rothley Memorial Square, in the central England town in this January file photo.Lee Sanders / EPA file
/ Source: The Associated Press

The parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann appealed to her kidnappers Thursday to return their daughter as the one-year anniversary of her disappearance from a Portuguese resort approached.

Kate and Gerry McCann began a new phase of their search for Madeleine with the launch of an international telephone hotline that they hope will produce new information about her whereabouts.

"If you have Madeleine, you can call this number. All we are interested in is getting Madeleine back," Gerry McCann said in an interview with AP Television News.

"You can do this anonymously, we will guarantee that, all we want is Madeleine back. You can get out of this situation. Please, contact us," he said.

The couple have helped produce a documentary and are conducting media interviews as part of a new offensive to mark the 4-year-old girl's disappearance from a hotel room during a family vacation in Portugal on May 3, 2007. The parents were eating at a nearby restaurant at the time.

The case drew enormous interest, first in Britain and Portugal, then around the world — a product of the McCanns' dogged determination to keep the case in the public eye, the voraciousness of the British tabloid press and a shocking twist that saw Portuguese police name the parents as formal suspects.

"Madeleine is still missing. It's a year down the line, Madeleine is still missing," Kate McCann told AP.

"There's no evidence to suggest that she's come to any harm. There's still good reason to think that she is out there alive ... and we need someone to help us," she said.