EXCLUSIVE: She is CONSUMED with the hunt for her daughter. EVERY DAY she will spend 3 HOURS READING documents, looking for the VITAL CLUE which will answer the question that has tortured her and Gerry for 21 AGONISING MONTHS. Where is our missing Madeleine?
Kate McCann sips her tea and then turns another page from the mountain of paperwork, looking for the one clue that could spark a breakthrough in the search for her missing daughter.
As her twins Sean and Amelie enjoy playing with friends at nursery, their 40-year-old mum combs through thousands of police documents stacked up in 17 massive files hoping to latch on to any nugget of information such as the names of witnesses that were never interviewed.
Raw pain is still sometimes clearly etched on her face. But this is Kate's life now.
No longer working as a GP, she has dedicated herself to the task of unearthing clues that will lead her to her daughter Madeleine who vanished 21 months ago.
A family member said: "She is there virtually every morning. It's her routine for two or three hours every day while the twins are in nursery.
"Sometimes I feel she is exhausting herself. I wish she would take a break. But she won't listen. She is driven, consumed with the task and the goal of
While the agony of not knowing where Madeleine is or what has happened to her eats up Kate and husband Gerry, the couple still have to provide a normal family life for Sean and Amelie. Tomorrow, the twins celebrate their fourth birthday and their parents will make sure it is a special day full of fun, laughter, gifts and games.
But, inevitably, one heartbreaking thought will haunt the couple throughout: "We never got to do this with Madeleine."
She vanished nine days short of her own fourth birthday from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, as her parents ate at a tapas bar with friends.
This year, the twins will start school - another milestone Madeleine never reached.
She had been due to start at Bishop Ellis Catholic Primary at Thurmaston, Leics, in September of the year she vanished.
Kate has reached folder number 15 of the 17 she is searching through.
She will doggedly plough on line-by-line through the daunting pile of paperwork, forensically noting, computer filing, crosschecking, never giving up hope of stumbling across the key to her daughter's whereabouts.
Her desperate actions echo Gerry's words to the Mirror in his last UK interview in May last year as the Portuguese police closed their file. Back then, he vowed: "We'll find her ourselves."
So far, their hunt has been without success. But every new scrap of information gives the couple fresh hope that they will be reunited with their little girl.
The family member added: "Kate has already found evidence overlooked by police and the names of witnesses never interviewed.
"On a day that happens, she is upbeat, positive, cheerful. When she comes across something negative however, she is down.
"Of the two of them, Kate is the most fragile. Her mood can change quickly.
"But she remains strong, resolute, determined to find Madeleine. Till the day she dies, she will never give up."
According to friends, this has been Kate's daily routine for the last six months since the Portuguese authorities lifted the couple's arguido suspect status and handed over the written record of their bungled investigation. For Gerry, too, the work involved in finding Madeleine has become a second job. The 40-year-old heart consultant leaves home before 8am for the cardiac unit at the Glenfield Hospital on the outskirts of Leicester.
Despite his demanding work schedule, he strives to be home by 6pm to join in the nightly bath and bed routine of the couple's twins.
Like any devoted dad, he reads the children a bedtime story before lights out and then joins his wife for supper.
But then, instead of slumping in front of the TV, he goes into the study, spending a couple of hours each night taking his turn to scour the files or hit the phones.
He calls the couple's Portuguese lawyers, their UK-based investigators and consults their team of advisers and sponsors.
More glimpses into the mind of Kate McCann:
Rod Chaytor changes title of his article to suck up to the Peoples' Child Neglectors as only the cowardly British media can. Isn't it time that the British media thought about Maddie for once?