Madeleine McCann's parent's voice 'hope and determination' to find her
In a message posted on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign website, Kate and Gerry McCann said their thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has suffered during 2020.
The statement, which also thanks well-wishers, reads: "Goodbye 2020. What a year! One we don't want to remember but will find it hard to forget.
"There's no doubt that 2020 has been tough for most people, and often distressing, with so much loss, worry and isolation.
"Despite losing a parent each, we are aware we have been more fortunate than many, with our family unit at home and jobs to go to."
The couple, from Rothley in Leicestershire, acknowledged the investigation to find Madeleine had understandably been forced to slow down as a result of the pandemic.
They added: "It hasn't stopped, however, and the hope, energy and determination to find her and uncover the truth remain steadfast.
"We are very grateful for the continued support, especially throughout this 'rubbish' year and for all the Christmas wishes too. Thank-you.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has suffered this year. Let's hope 2021 is a brighter, more positive one."
Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, on Portugal's Algarve, on May 3, 2007.
Scotland Yard last month confirmed it has no plans to end its missing person investigation, despite the belief of German prosecutors that Madeleine was murdered.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said the force is working "really, really closely" with the German authorities, but does not expect them to share all of their evidence.
A suspect in the German inquiry, Christian Brueckner, was told last November that he will remain behind bars until 2026, after losing a bid to overturn a rape conviction.
He was last year found guilty of the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in the same Portuguese resort and sentenced to seven years in jail, at a court in Brunswick, Lower Saxony.
The 43-year-old German national - referred to as Christian B in Germany due to the country's strict privacy laws - was identified as a suspect in the Madeleine investigation last June.
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