Madeleine McCann: Parents say 'they haven't given up hope' as formal suspect declared

Kate and Gerry McCann have said they "welcome" the news

The parents of Madeleine McCann have issued a statement after a person was declared as an official suspect in the disappearance of the toddler.

Portuguese authorities haven't named the individual but are acting on request of German authorities.

ITV News understands the formal suspect is Christian B - a man German police first said they were investigating in 2020 - who is currently in prison in his home country for other offences.

He has never been charged and denies any involvement in the Rothley toddler's disappearance.

Reacting to the news, Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann said they haven't given up hope that their daughter is still alive.

They said: "We welcome the news that the Portuguese authorities have declared a German man an 'arguido' in relation to the disappearance of our beloved daughter Madeleine.

"This reflects progress in the investigation, being conducted by the Portuguese, German and British authorities.

"We are kept informed of developments by the Metropolitan Police.

"It is important to note the 'arguido' has not yet been charged with any specific crime related to Madeleine's disappearance.

In 2020, German police said they were investigating a man in connection with the case known as Christian B. Credit: Police image

"Even though the possibility may be slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive and we will be reunited with her."

May 3 will mark 15 years since three-year-old Madeleine went missing on a family holiday in Portugal.

This is also the statute of limitation for when Portuguese authorities need to formally declare a person of interest.