The parents of Madeleine McCann, the British toddler missing since 2007, are celebrating her eighth birthday today by releasing a book about their daughter, hoping it will reinvigorate the search and fund an independent review of the case.
"There will still be a little tea party at home, balloons and cake…I comfort myself by knowing that what we're doing today could be very positive in the search for our daughter," said Kate McCann on "Good Morning America."
Kate and Gerry McCann hope the book, "Madeleine," will reinvigorate the search for their daughter. Maddie, as she was known, disappeared from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz where the family was staying in 2007. The couple had left their three children and gone to dinner. When they returned, Maddie was missing.
During the international search for the girls, Kate and Gerry McCann were considered suspects by Portuguese authorities, but eventually cleared. The search for the girl ended officially in 2008.
"It's hard to explain how terrifying that whole experience was compounded by the fact that Madeleine had been taken in the first place. It looked like our whole life was going to collapse around us," said Gerry McCann.
The family believes that the intense spotlight on them by Portuguese authorities hindered the search.
"The most difficult thing was the realization at that point that the police weren't looking for Madeleine and that they were just focused really on trying to blame us and for it all to be over... Obviously that's one of the most damaging things that could then happen to the search really, for the police to stop looking and to convince the general public as well that we were somehow involved and then stop them from looking. So that was the thing that hurt the most," said Kate McCann.
Parents of Maddie McCann Still Searching for Hope
The proceeds from the book will help fund an independent review of Madeleine's case.
"We haven't got one tangible thing to really hang our hat on at this point and that's why a review of the case is so important," Gerry McCann said.
In the book, Kate McCann writes of despair so dense that she pondered suicide.
"I had an overwhelming urge to swim out across the ocean...as hard and as fast as I could; to swim and swim and swim until I was so far out and so exhausted, I could just allow the water to pull me under and relieve me of this torment," she writes.
She writes of guilt so strong that she now questions why she didn't respond to the children crying the night before Maddie disappeared.
"It is now my belief that there was somebody either in or trying to get into the children's bedroom that night, and that is what disturbed them," she writes.
Kate and Gerry McCann still struggle with feelings of guilt about going to dinner the night their little girl disappeared, leaving Maddie, 4, and her 2-year-old twin siblings alone.
"If you dwell on things that you can't change, they really can eat you up and destroy you. What we're trying hard to do is focus on what can still be done to find Madeleine. You know, we made a mistake and unfortunately we'd love to go back and change that, but we've got to focus on the future and finding our little girl," Gerry McCann said.
The case of Jaycee Dugard, the missing California girl found 18 years after being abducted, gives the McCann family hope. The couple, whose own relationship has suffered, are determined to be a family of five again.
"It's inevitable really that something as awful that's happened to Madeleine would not impact on our whole life and that includes our relationship as well…we love each other and our family is more important than everything. We need to find Madeleine and we're determined that this event, this one act will not destroy everything that we have," said Kate McCann.