PRAIA DA LUZ (Portugal) • Foreign residents in the Portuguese resort town of Praia da Luz spoke of their hopes that the parents of British girl Madeleine McCann, who went missing there 13 years ago, can find closure at last.
The German authorities say she is now assumed to be dead and that an imprisoned German child abuser is suspected of her murder.
Madeleine, then aged three, disappeared from her hotel room in 2007 during a family holiday in Praia da Luz, a small town in the southern Algarve region where some foreign visitors end up living all year round.
“I always hoped they would find her alive,” said Ms Sally Clegg, a 69-year-old from Yorkshire, who bought a holiday home in the white-walled town, whose name translates as “Beach of Light”, eight years ago.
“I think for parents, even if (what happened is) horrible, at least they know and they can find closure,” she told Reuters on Friday not far from the resort complex where Madeleine disappeared.
Coffee shops were open but serving few customers as the town of about 3,500 residents is under coronavirus curbs. The church where the McCanns used to go and where locals prayed for her safe return years ago was shut.
“I feel bad for them. They are in a limbo for so many years now. I can’t even imagine what that’s like, so it would be great if there was some closure,” said 57-year-old New Yorker Susan Harris, who moved to Praia da Luz about the time Madeleine, or Maddie, vanished.
Mr Peter Sehurter, 70, from Switzerland, who has lived in Praia da Luz for two years, said: “When I moved in, my neighbour said it happened in his flat… I hope this is it – everybody does, but I think there’s still a lack of evidence. It would bring closure, mainly for the parents.”