Missing Madeleine McCann's Parents Receive Online Death Threats

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LONDON — A dossier of online abuse and death threats aimed at the family of missing British girl Madeleine McCann is being investigated, officials said Thursday. The messages include graphic tweets and Facebook posts calling for violence against the girl’s parents, London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed to NBC News. The three-year-old vanished from her hotel room in Portugal in 2007 while mother Kate and father Gerry dined nearby with friends.They were initially named as suspects by Portuguese police but that status was lifted in July 2008. The McCanns sued Britain's Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Star on Sunday newspapers over their coverage of the case. They later printed front-page apologies for suggesting the parents were to blame for her death and paid the McCanns £550,000 ($891,000) in damages.

The 80-page document was submitted by members of the public on September 9, police said. The messages included calls for the McCanns to be tortured and killed, with one saying they should "burn in hell." Another said: "I hope that the McCanns are living in total misery." The content of the messages was first reported by Britain's Sky News. The Met said it was working with the McCanns and the U.K.’s Crown Prosecution Service "to find the best way to take this forward."


- Alexander Smith