McCann Family Launches New Ad Campaign

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The parents of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann announced a new campaign to find their daughter on Saturday.

Over $150,000 will be spent from the Find Madeleine Fund to pay for new posters, billboards, television, and print advertising across Europe. The Find Madeleine campaign has raised over $2 million from donors.

Madeleine vanished in Praia de Luz, Portugal, 135 days ago. Since then, her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, have led an intense media effort to find their child.

Recently, however, Portuguese police have named the couple as official suspects in the investigation.

In what could be seen as a bid to deflect unflattering attention from the British and Portuguese tabloid media, John McCann, brother of Gerry McCann, held a press conference on Saturday, detailing a new "broad range of initiatives" to find Madeleine.

Speaking from his home in Glasgow, Scotland, he said that the new advertising "will focus on Spain, Portugal and other parts of Europe and will consist of billboards and other media."

The renewed campaign is expected to roll out in two weeks.

During the press conference, John McCann stressed the need "to remind everyone that Madeleine is still missing."

Earlier reports in the British press hinted at the McCann family's frustration at the lack of police progress in the search for their little girl.

The Portuguese press quoted unnamed police sources saying that they "may never find the body" of Madeleine.

On Saturday, the UK's Sun tabloid claimed that police are allegedly examining the possibility of the child's body being dumped into the sea in a weighted sack, from a British-owned yacht.

The Sun also reported that the McCanns might have to sell their $1.2 million home to pay their legal bills. Philomena McCann, Gerry's sister, reportedly said, "It's a possibility. These things happen."

The couple have been told not to use any money from the Find Madeleine fund to pay for their legal expenses.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese newspaper 24 Horas featured an interview with a "high-ranking" Portuguese officer, who said that the police have "nothing concrete" to implicate the McCanns in their daughter's disappearance, or even to determine if Madeleine is dead.

In a separate press briefing on Saturday, a spokeswoman for the family asked the press "to calm down," explaining that the family is "disturbed by the level of speculation" surrounding the case.

According to the Portuguese papers, Kate McCann's father, Brian Healy, has personally called the offices of many tabloids to address "disgraceful lies."

Speaking from the McCann's home in Rothley, England, the family's spokeswoman said that the couple have "had a series of meetings with media advisors" to take stock of the situation and "handle the 400-500 media calls" received each day.

She also said that there are "no plans in place to return to Portugal" unless Portuguese authorities require them to do so.

Despite the increasingly negative media coverage, she said that the family has been receiving 500 to 1,000 letters and gifts a day from members of the public.

Joanna Devane and Jenna Millman in Rothley, England and Anabella Poland in Praia de Luz, Portugal contributed to the reporting of this story.

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