By Jon Clements 3/11/09
These are the images that show how Madeleine McCann would look two and a half years after she vanished.
Police hope the new computer generated pictures will spark a flood of possible sightings and lead them to the missing youngster’s whereabouts.
One shows how she would appear, now aged six, if being held in Europe – with her skin still pale.
The other is an image of her face had she been taken to North Africa, with a suntan and dark hair.
(If Maddie is being let out of her secret lair in a lawless village in Praia da Luz to get a suntan in North Africa, then surely her hair would get lighter?)
The pictures were released after Madeleine’s heartbroken parents Gerry and Kate, both 41, begged one of Britain’s leading child abduction police officers to help them find their precious daughter, who vanished from a Portuguese holiday apartment in May 2007.
They wrote a letter to Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre boss Jim Gamble – and he was so moved by it he decided there and then to get involved.
The officer yesterday launched a 60-second internet video clip aimed at people who may know Madeleine’s kidnapper.
Mr Gamble said: “It is the first time it has been done and I absolutely believe this has the opportunity, the potential, to get to the person we are looking for. We are not looking for someone who has seen this girl particularly.
“We are looking for the person who knows or strongly suspects the individual or individuals involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. The person who for a long time has perhaps struggled with their conscience keeping a terrible secret.” Mr Gamble is convinced Madeleine may still be alive and pointed to the case of American teenager Jaycee Dugard as evidence. He added: “I’ve reviewed cases of children who turned up four, eight, eighteen years later. Statisticians do that most awful of thing, taking away people’s hope.
Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, Leics, pleaded for help after reaching a “low point” in their hopes they would ever see Madeleine again.
A friend said: “Jim was moved by the letter and agreed to do what he could. It personally touched him.”
Kate and Gerry say in the clip: “We are extremely grateful to Ceop for launching this new message.
“If you know what has happened to Madeleine, it is still not too late to do the right thing and come forward. We love Madeleine. Please help us bring her home.”
Paulo Reis: Is Madie being held near Praia da Luz or in North Africa?