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'It's time to stop looking for Madeleine McCann.'

There’s a new Madeleine McCann documentary coming to Netflix. You can find out everything you need to know about it right here.

Sometimes the difficulty is accepting the reality.

Today we have learnt that after eight-years and five months the time has come to scale back the investigation into Madeleine McCann. The time has come to wind things down,  detectives have said they have now completed the “vast majority of work”.

Scotland Yard announced overnight:

“While there remain lines of inquiry to follow, the vast majority of the work by Operation Grange has been completed.”

The Metropolian Police will scale back to a team of just four dedicated police, from a team that once numbered in the hundreds. Police investigated 60 suspects, investigated 650 paedophiles and almost 9,000 sightings of Madeleine.

And still nothing.

It’s a tough reality to accept but the fact is we may never know what happened to the little girl.  I can’t imagine there is a person out there who doesn’t hope that one day the McCann family has answers but eight years after Madeleine disappeared it’s time.

The decision has been met with understanding by Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann who said that they “fully understand the reasons why the team is being reduced.”

They said: “We would like to thank all the staff from Operation Grange for the meticulous and painstaking work that they have carried out over the last four and a half years. The scale and difficulty of their task has never been in doubt.

“We are reassured that the investigation to find Madeleine has been significantly progressed and the MPS has a much clearer picture of the events in Praia da Luz leading up to Madeleine’s abduction in 2007.

.. Whilst we do not know what happened to Madeleine, we remain hopeful that she may still be found given the ongoing lines of enquiry. “

Earlier this year I wrote the post below.

I was called “heartless” and “uncaring.” I was questioned if it was my daughter “how would I feel?”

The honest truth is that while I can only imagine, as I had never experienced such tragedy, I expect I would angry and furious and determined to personally never give up, but I hope that I would accept obstacles like the necessary scaling back of the investigation with the grace and dignity that the McCann family have.

My previous post below: 

It’s almost unthinkable to say it out loud. But what is the worth of one girl’s life?

Eight years. Thirty-three trips to Portugal. Nineteen million Australian dollars.

All for one missing child.

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Everyone wants a happy outcome in the search for Madeleine McCann, the blonde-haired three-year-old who disappeared from her parent’s Portugal hotel room back in 2007 and has obsessed the world’s media ever since.

The latest on the case: Finally, some promising news in the case of missing Madeleine McCann.

But at what point do we need to face reality?

In the UK at the moment, there are a mounting number of calls to wind down the search.  The basis for the argument is that the most recent investigation – Operation Grange – found little evidence that didn’t already exist. It also cost taxpayers almost £10million and took a team of over 30 dedicated Metropolitan Police Officers away from their regular jobs.

The Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, John Tully recently confirmed those calls when he said: “It’s time to re-focus on what we need to do to keep London safe. We no longer have the resources to conduct specialist inquiries all over the world which have nothing to do with London.”

Madeleine Mccann getty FI
Eight years have gone by since Madeleine went missing. (Source:Getty)

It’s a sentiment that was also acknowledged in an opinion piece published by The Daily Mail today by a journalist who has written about the case since 2007.

David Jones wrote:

“Mr Tully’s remarks have inevitably sparked heated debate. One side insists that the investigation must continue at any cost, while friends of the McCanns have reportedly accused him of speaking out of turn and citing the case to peddle the Federation’s agenda.

But many have praised him for having the courage to voice the unsayable truth. With a very heavy heart, I must say I agree with them.”

The message is blunt and difficult to hear. It is a message, when examined from a financial and resource point of view, that is difficult to deny. From that perspective, it is time to stop looking. It’s time to stop spending millions of dollars of resources on one small girl. It is time to look at the evidence that has been uncovered and accept the reality.

Because after all why is she so special?

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Well, the answer to that is simple.

Madeleine McCann IS special. She is unique. She is a daughter, a big sister to twins. A much-loved member of a community. She is as special as my daughter, as your children, as your nieces and nephews.

What’s so special about Madeleine McCann?

It is almost impossible to put yourself in the shoes of her mother Kate McCann. But it IS possible to feel the hunger and primeval force that would implore you to never stop searching and to encourage others to do the same.

Why Madeleine? White, cute and from ‘good homes’: This is not what all missing kids look like. 

In a world where we hear of mothers poisoning their children for attention, of parents smothering their babies in their sleep, of children neglected, forgotten, cast aside, unwanted – Madeleine McCann’s parents’ unstoppable devotion and love is something to hold onto and admire.

But is admiration worth unlimited resources?

Back to David Jones for the Daily Mail:

“If, God forbid, I was in their shoes, I would want, demand and plead that everything humanly possible must be done to find a member of my family; or, at the very least, to discover what became of them.

I would gladly swing for any policeman or Home Office mandarin who presumed to evaluate the chances of finding them in the cold terms of cost-effectiveness. I would insist that the search must go on: indefinitely, and whatever the price.

Like Kate and Gerry McCann, perhaps I would cling to miracles, too.

There is an argument to suggest that other missing children have been overlooked by the focus upon the McCann case.

But if it was your child, wouldn’t you do exactly the same thing?

Of course no missing child is more important than another – and this is something recognised by the parents of Madeleine McCann. Throughout their search they continue to support and promote the cause of missing children right throughout the world.

Kate McCann wrote on her website “People have asked (usually in a critical manner) ‘why has Madeleine received such attention when there are thousands of missing children around the world?’ The public awareness of Madeleine’s plight has at the very least, highlighted cases of other missing children and the extent of the problem as a whole, and from that we can take a small bit of comfort.”

Kate and Gerry McCann have raised awareness for missing children throughout the UK.

The facts may be that it is time to wind down the case but should facts necessarily win out?

Each and every time a miracle occurs – a missing person returns, a kidnap victim escapes – the hopes of parents like Kate and Gerry McCann must lift even just for a moment.

And if it was my child, my hopes would lift too. And I would continue to pray. Continue to do whatever was in my power to find my child.

Sure there may be merit in these calls to wind down the investigation. Practicalities and financial realities – but then there is hope – and hope comes from the heart. I know I write this overwhelmingly as a mother but when there are children involved surely the heart should overrule the head.

It makes sense. But it’s unthinkable.

What do you think? Is the cost of looking for a missing child ever too much?