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Maddy parents 'hopeful' after probe
The parents of Madeleine McCann have urged people to "rack their brains" and come forward with information after police released two e-fits of a gman who was seen carrying a child near where their daughter went missing.
Kate and Gerry McCann said they were "hopeful and optimistic" in a live interview on BBC's Crimewatch programme after police made a fresh television appeal for information.
The images of a man with dark hair are based on descriptions from two witnesses who were staying in Praia da Luz, Portugal, when the three-year-old girl went missing on May 3 2007.
During the show, the senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, said two independent callers had put forward the same name for the man and another caller had given a name of a man who was known to be in Portugal at the time of Madeleine's disappearance.
Mr McCann told the programme: "I think we're feeling hopeful and optimistic.
"All along, we've said that a review needed done, and I think the Metropolitan Police have done a great job in piecing things together and bringing all the information, and really identifying new pieces of information that really are taking us further forward."
His wife Kate said: " It doesn't matter how much heartache we put ourselves through, so long as we get the result that we need.
"As Gerry said, the Met have made huge progress and that's given us great hope that we can find Madeleine, that we can find out what's happened and bring us some answers.
Urging viewers to call the show, Madeleine's mother added: " Please, please have the courage and confidence to come forward now, and share that information with us, and you could unlock this whole case, so please.
"The general public have been so fantastic, but please stay with us and come forward."
Mr McCann said people should find hope from recent cases in which abducted children had been found after long periods of time.
"These cases can get solved," he said, "and I think that's what the public need to think about tonight, t he new information, and really rack their brains and come forward, really."
Asked if there was still hope they would find their daughter, Mr McCann said: "Absolutely, we don't know what's happened to Madeleine. We don't know who's taken her.
"Probably our best chance of finding her is identifying that person, and that's why the e-fits and sketches and the new information tonight are so important to us, because that's probably the best chance we've got of finding Madeleine."
Detectives investigating the abduction now believe the sighting of the man carrying the little girl is much more significant than previously thought and one of the main priorities for the investigation is to identify the man.
Witnesses described him as white, aged between 20-40, with short brown hair, of medium build, medium height and clean-shaven.
While p olice appealed for information on that suspect, they also ruled out a separate key sighting on the day Madeleine vanished.
Officers from Scotland Yard now say that a man seen carrying a child by the McCanns' friend Jane Tanner was an innocent British holiday maker, and are instead focusing on the man with dark hair who was also seen with a little girl in his arms around 45 minutes later.
They are also trying to identify a number of mysterious men seen lurking around the apartment where it is believed she was abducted.
Investigators are looking at a spate of break-ins in the area, one of which happened in the same week a year before Madeleine went missing, where a man got into a flat where young children were sleeping.
In the Crimewatch appeal, Mr Redwood said that Madeleine's disappearance could have been a planned abduction.
"Madeleine McCann's disappearance does, on one reading of the evidence, have the hallmarks of a pre-planned abduction that would undoubtedly have involved reconnaissance," he said.
Mr Redwood said that while finding the man in the e-fits was of "vital importance", it is far from being the only line of inquiry.
"Whilst this man may or may not be the key to unlocking this investigation, tracing and speaking to him is of vital importance to us.
"We have witnesses placing him in the resort area around the time of Madeleine's disappearance.
"This is far from our only line of inquiry and there will be e-fits released of other sightings as well, who we are equally keen to trace. These people were seen on the day of Madeleine's disappearance and the days leading up to it," he said.
He added that detectives have been able to "make massive steps forward" by drawing together all the material gathered to date and reviewing it as a whole.
"We continue to put Madeleine at the heart of our investigation and I would urge people to watch Crimewatch tonight and if you can help identify this man or have any information about our new appeal points, please contact us.
"Praia da Luz is a popular holiday destination for many nationalities so our requests for help need to be repeated in many different countries. I will be travelling to Holland, Germany and Ireland to seek the support of the public there.
"If you were in and around the Praia da Luz resort on Thursday May 3 2007, but you have not yet spoken to police, and you think you may have information, please pass it on.
"I would also like to ask for the help of the local community in Praia da Luz. Portugal is a key country for us to trace any outstanding witnesses and our appeals will be repeated there.
"We still have a lot of material to investigate and much work to do. Your information could be the vital piece we need to finally answer what happened to Madeleine."
A tearful Mrs McCann said in a pre-recorded interview with Crimewatch: " We're not the ones that has done something wrong here. It's the person who's gone into that apartment and taken a little girl away from her family."