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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Where is Madeleine McCann?
Aired May 11, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, vanished. The case that shocked the world.
GERRY MCCANN, MADELEINE MCCANN'S FATHER: The pain is never too far away from the surface.
MORGAN: On vacation in Portugal, Kate and Gerry McCann put their 4-year-old daughter Madeleine to bed and they never saw her again.
KATE MCCANN, MADELEINE MCCANN'S MOTHER: I don't know how much I love the children and there's no way I'd have taken a risk.
MORGAN: Four years later, after a global search, she's still missing.
G. MCCANN: Madeleine's still missing. And whoever's responsible for taking her are still at large.
MORGAN: Who took Madeleine? Is she still alive? If she is, will her parents ever find her?
K. MCCANN: It is wrong to give up on children who are still missing.
MORGAN: Tonight, Kate and Gerry McCann. Their hopes for Madeleine.
G. MCCANN: There's absolutely no evidence anywhere to suggest that Madeleine has been physically harmed.
MORGAN: And their darkest days.
G. MCCANN: At the lowest point, I thought our family was going to be destroyed.
MORGAN: Kate and Gerry McCann for the hour. This is a PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT exclusive.
Kate, Gerry, thank you for sitting down with me. Today is the eighth birthday Madeleine would have enjoyed had she been with you. We still have no idea where Madeleine may be or what's happened to her.
You've written a book, Kate, about your experience. It's based on diaries that you wrote from a few weeks after she'd vanished. Why have you done the book?
K. MCCANN: Of course my reason for writing it all down is quite different to the reason to publish it as a book. And initially when I started to keep my diaries, it was really so that Madeleine would have an account so when we found her, I'd be able to fill in the gaps. And also showing them for when they were older.
And then going back to 2008, I actually filled in the gaps before I started keeping my diary so a little bit about me and Gerry and our backgrounds. And again, that was all just for the kids.
And I suppose it's always been the urge to get the truth out there. When there's been so many stories written before we have things (INAUDIBLE). And ultimately, Madeleine's fund was running out. And I knew that we'd need to raise money really to continue the search.
MORGAN: So all the money from this book is going to -- actually to the Madeleine Fund.
K. MCCANN: I think so.
MORGAN: So that you can continue to try and find out what happened to her.
K. MCCANN: That's right.
MORGAN: Gerry, obviously, that is the crux of this, isn't it, for you?
G. MCCANN: Absolutely.
MORGAN: You just don't know. I mean I'm a father of three children. I cannot imagine -- now I can remember my kids disappearing for a minute or two minutes and that awful panic that you feel as a parent when that happens.
To be here, years later, and have no idea where she is or what may have happened, it must be excruciating, isn't it?
G. MCCANN: It certainly was. And I think one of the reasons we've had so much public sympathy and empathy is I think every parent does know that feeling when your child is out of sight even for a few seconds and the panic it generates.
And obviously, for any family like yourselves whose child has been abducted, it's the most terrifying experience. But you do adapt. And the pain is not as raw. But, you know, we do still manage to get some enjoyment in our life and we've got two other beautiful children who are fantastic.
And the support we've had from the public has really helped carry us through. But it's just always something inside and the pain is never too far away from the surface.
MORGAN: I mean, Kate, do you ever have a day where this doesn't consume you?
K. MCCANN: I don't think it consumes every minute as it did before. But certainly, you know, Madeleine's absence is there constantly. I mean, as Gerry said, although we do have lovely times with Sean and Emily, and although I've now reached that point where I will allow myself to take time out, and just relax and enjoy something.
And you know, her absence is still tangible. And we can have a lovely family day. But as Sean will point out, it's really not a family day, mommy, because Madeleine's not here. You know and --
MORGAN: Have you considered having another baby? Has that even entered your thought process?
K. MCCANN: No. I mean, I think you probably know obviously our three children were born with the help of IVF. And -- so it wouldn't exactly be straight forward anyway. But, you know, you can't replace Madeleine.
And I know you're not suggesting that but I don't know. I think all the grief that we've been through and the busyness of everything, and obviously we've got Sean and Emily that we need to concentrate on.
MORGAN: Do you both 100 percent believe she's still alive? Or do you have to believe that?
K. MCCANN: I don't think -- I don't think we can say 100 percent. I mean, you know, we're realistic. We know that there is a chance that she may not be alive. But what we do know is there's a very good chance that she's alive. And there's certainly nothing to suggest otherwise.
And as you know, as well as many children who are found years down the line, they could have been written off, you know. And then they were found. So it would be wrong -- you know, it is wrong to give up on children who are still missing.
MORGAN: I mean, what is so strange about this story, and I remember living through it here in England at the time, is there's just no evidence of anything. She just vanished.
G. MCCANN: Actually --
K. MCCANN: There was a man seen carrying a child away --
MORGAN: But we don't know who he was. We don't even know if that was Madeleine. It could have been anybody. I mean --
K. MCCANN: We don't. But nobody came forward to eliminate themselves.
K. MCCANN: And obviously the timing of it, you know. MORGAN: So you believe from all that you know that that shadowy figure that was seen with a young child was probably the abduction taking place? Is that what you think?
K. MCCANN: Yes.
G. MCCANN: Yes, completely. And I think, you know, another thing, aspect about the book, I strongly believe a good reason for publishing it is putting these facts together about the sighting of the man carrying the child and the detail of that, as seen by our friend, Jane Turner (ph). Jane hadn't seen him, she literally would have been plucked from thin air.
But there's another sighting which Kate describes in the book that occurred about 45 minutes later when an Irish family gave an almost identical description of the man and the child independently of Jane's. It wasn't in the public domain.
MORGAN: Let's get back to what happened. You were on holiday in Portugal. You were at a child-friendly resort. And at about 7:30, you were putting your kids to bed. You had the two 2-year-olds and you had Madeleine who was 4. Tell me what happened.
Gerry, you start.
G. MCCANN: Well, we've always had the routine with the kids. Twins usually went to bed about 7:00 and Madeleine used to have a little bit extra time as this was at home as well. And I'd played tennis that evening and Kate had got the kids ready.
So when I came back, pretty much took them into the bedroom, read them a story and tucked them into the cots for the twins and Madeleine into bed. And we'd arranged to have dinner with our friends. And literally dining in the tapas area which was adjacent apartment as (INAUDIBLE), so we're about 50 meters away. And -- which we've done the four previous nights as well, coming back and forth to check --
MORGAN: This remains one of the highly contentious parts of this. Because you're both professional medical people. And you've got three very young children. And I know that you've expressed regret over this. And I'm not after more of that. It'd be completely pointless.
In terms of the normal practice, though, when you were with them, would you ever have left them alone in that situation if you'd been at home, for example, back in England?
G. MCCANN: Definitely not. I mean, the closest thing that you would do to that -- it didn't feel that different -- would be dining in your garden.
MORGAN: I mean, Kate, as a mother here, you must live through that all the time. And beat yourself up. I've seen you do that and I've heard you do that. And my heart goes out to you because there's not a parent I know that hasn't mislaid a child at some stage. K. MCCANN: All I can say is if I'd ever thought there was any risk at all, you know, it just wouldn't have happened. And that's all I can say really, you know? And it's hard to, you know, sometimes to think at home when I was going to the post office and I had the twins in the double buggy because it wouldn't fit through the post office door, I used to get my aunt to come and meet me and just stand by the door even though it's a tiny post office and I could see the buggy so nothing (INAUDIBLE) with sort of how we act in Portugal.
And all I can say, it just felt so safe. You know it was a family-friendly resort. The first time that I've ever been to Portugal but all the family and friends we knew who had been there said it's, you know, a lovely country and it's really safe and it's for families.
MORGAN: I mean, Gerry, I mean, the difficult question, but obviously the resort you were in had lots of nanny facilities. And they weren't that expensive to use. And you both were professionals earning money.
Another criticism as put to you is why didn't you just pay to have a nanny if you wanted to go out to dinner?
G. MCCANN: Yes, I mean, it's not a question of money. We did what we thought was best in the kids' routines. And I think -- we had a very good routine in terms of the whole bath, bed story type thing. And I take your point. But for me, you know, if your children asleep upstairs in the bedroom and you are dining in the garden, you're out of sight and you can't hear them. And that's the similar thing to me.
MORGAN: You said -- I guess that most people's homes are secure.
G. MCCANN: Sure.
MORGAN: You know? This was not a secure property. People could come in and off the street if they wanted to. That's where the criticism I guess comes at its most fierce towards you is -- you know, you're intelligent people and you're certainly good parents, no one's questioning that from all accounts we've all heard.
It's just when you have people coming in and off the street like that, and it's not your home and it's not really secure.
G. MCCANN: Again, I mean, I think that it's back to the safety issue. We did not perceive an element of threat. And child abduction is so rare. Why would we have ever have thought that someone was going to go into our apartment and steal your child? It just didn't enter our head. If it had it wouldn't have happened.
K. MCCANN: We've been through all these questions day in, day out. Why, how, why. And I can only, you know, say to myself, well, you felt really safe. And I know how much I love my children. And there's no way I'd have taken a risk.
G. MCCANN: I think the worst thing, though, about the focus on our behavior and, you know, if we could change it, we would have. We can't change it. But it takes the focus away from the abductor. And that becomes quite frustrating for us because Madeleine is still missing. And those -- that person or those responsible for taking her are still at large, Piers, and you know that's --
MORGAN: Somebody somewhere knows what happened.
G. MCCANN: Yes.
MORGAN: And that must eat you up much more than, you know, fireside critics saying you should have done this --
G. MCCANN: Yes. You know it's not like a double -- you know a double punishment, you know. We have expressed our regret. It doesn't change it, you know. And what we're trying to focus on --
K. MCCANN: I guess no one --
G. MCCANN: From day one is what we can do to find Madeleine and those responsible. And you know if we can go back and jumped in the (INAUDIBLE), we would be there.
K. MCCANN: (INAUDIBLE) I'd want to change what we did that night obviously, you know.
MORGAN: Do you have a lot of regret? Now looking back, obviously not just because Madeleine went, but do you think with hindsight, you should have done more to protect them? Do you feel that?
K. MCCANN: Well, obviously, because of what's happened, you know. And I beat myself up every day but I can't change it now. I have to go forward and see what I can do now.
G. MCCANN: We have to be careful as well. Because I think, you know, almost certainly if we had been dining on the balcony of the apartment, this would not have happened. I'm absolutely clear about that. But child abductions do happen when parents are with their children. People are stolen in resorts and in parks.
And there was a case in the UK a few years ago where a little child was (INAUDIBLE) stolen out of the bath while her parents were in the living room. So you know -- we made the mistake but the crime is the person taking the child. And, you know, it's incredibly rare but that's the focus. And that person could strike again. And we need to find them.
MORGAN: Want to take a short break. When I come back, I want to talk to you about the moment you discovered that Madeleine had gone.
MORGAN: What was the exact moment -- let me ask you, Kate -- when you realized Madeleine had gone?
K. MCCANN: Well, went back to do a check at 10:00 and I went through the patio doors at the back. And I listened for a minute in the living room. And it was all quiet. I just noticed that the door to the children's bedroom was quite far open. And we always leave it just so it's slightly ajar, just to let a little bit of light in.
And I thought to myself, did Matt leave the door open at half nine? Matt checked on the half nine. And I thought, that must be what happened. So I went to close over the children's door.
And just as I was about to close it, it kind of slammed. Like a gust of wind had shut it. Then I thought I'll leave the patio doors open. So I just checked and they were closed. And then I went back just to open the door again a little bit. And just as I was doing that I just -- I just glanced at Madeleine's bed which was by the wall. And it was really dark and I couldn't quite make her out.
But I just kept looking for what felt like minutes thinking, you know, where is she, you know? It seems dark now because normally you'd think I'd put the light on. But in fact it's that in built thing of don't wake the kids up. And then I looked and realized she wasn't there. And I thought, had she gone through to our bedroom? And you know that would explain why the door was open as well.
So I just quickly looked in our room. And she wasn't there. And that's probably the first time that panic starts to build. So I'm back into her room. And just as I did that, it was the curtains which were closed just kind of blew open. And (INAUDIBLE) I noticed that the shutter was open. The window was open.
MORGAN: And what did you think in that moment?
K. MCCANN: I thought someone's taken her.
MORGAN: You went down to tell Gerry straight away?
K. MCCANN: Yes. I just basically and quickly whisked around the apartment, like 15 seconds. I don't know why. In my head, I was just thinking if someone's been in and she's cowering somewhere I guess is why I did it. And then it just flew out through the back, down the stairs to the restaurant.
And as soon as the table was in sight, I just started screaming, Madeleine is gone. And then they all jumped up and we heard a neighbor saying, she must be there, she must be there. But obviously I knew.
MORGAN: And, Gerry, this is every father's nightmare. Every mother's nightmare. But as a father, a young girl, and she's gone. What are you thinking?
G. MCCANN: The first thing that went straight through my head and I think -- it was just disbelief. I said, she can't be there, she can't be there. And I was running to the apartment with Kate. And I've checked. And she said, I've checked, I've checked, she's not there.
And I ran into the bedroom. And I found it just as Kate described. And when I saw that window pushed wide open and the shutter up, which we'd left down the whole week, it was horrible. And I -- lowered the shutter and I went through the front door. And I was able to lift the shutter from outside which --
MORGAN: Do you know that yet? Do you know -- is there any evidence how this person came in the room?
G. MCCANN: I mean no doubt, there are a number of options. And --
MORGAN: No, actual evidence. There's nothing they could find to say this is unequivocally how this person came in?
G. MCCANN: No. I mean, it's possible they came through the window. They could have come through the patio doors, although that was in sight of where we were dining. So I think that's probably less likely. For all we know, they could have had a key, you know, lots of people stayed in that apartment over years to the front door --
MORGAN: There was a report that that morning Madeleine had asked you why you didn't come when she'd been crying. Did that set alarm bells off when she did that?
K. MCCANN: Well, it's one of those things. There's no hindsight. But at the time when she said it, you know, it did -- you know, we were saying, what do you mean, Madeleine? You know kind of -- we were trying to think, you know, was she upset at that time, you know, her bath time.
And we kind of pressed her a bit. And said, when was this. And she just dropped it and carried on playing. And at that point, I'm thinking, oh, god, I hope she didn't wake up, you know, in between our checks. I would hate to think that could have happened and she'd worry we weren't there.
But at the same time, that didn't to me, just seemed a little bit odd because yes, it could happen but it just seemed a bit of a coincidence that we'd check, leave, she's wake up, get herself back off to sleep, which kids don't often do.
G. MCCANN: Like Sean.
K. MCCANN: And she's sleep again before the next --
MORGAN: Do you have any blame that you would attach to the resort itself? Now given the time that's gone past?
K. MCCANN: No. I mean, I think -- you know, the person to blame is the person that's taken Madeleine. There's no doubt about that. And it's like (INAUDIBLE) the decision we made. You can argue well, maybe we should have known about burglaries. Maybe that would have changed our behavior. And --
MORGAN: Have there been a number of burglaries there?
K. MCCANN: Yes. There's been quite a lot of burglaries.
MORGAN: Do you know how many there have been now? Do you know all the figures for that?
G. MCCANN: No, we're not sure. I mean it's difficult because we didn't have access to the crimes, and things of that. We know of other people contacting us saying the apartment had been burglared (ph) in.
MORGAN: One of the real frustrations for you is there's these two investigating authorities. One in Britain, one in Portugal. Do you think there is a missing link here? Do you believe that if enough time and money and resources devoted to this, that there's some stone that's been left unturned in this investigation?
G. MCCANN: I'm absolutely certain that there are things that could be done based on the information that's available to us. There are multiples leads and lines of inquiry which we think could be explored further. Based on what is in the Portuguese file.
And I think it's critical really that for any major serious unsolved crime, certainly in the UK, a review would be a routine procedure. And that's when someone else comes in and looks at what's been done. And that hasn't been done within Portugal.
MORGAN: When the police turned up, what was their initial behavior like towards you? We know that things turned pretty unpleasant quite quickly. But when they first arrived, Kate, were they sympathetic? Were they helpful? What was the mood like?
K. MCCANN: The first police that turned up were what we call G&R police. They weren't the criminal police of Portugal. Of course we didn't -- we didn't know the different kind of categories and especially got to bear in mind that we have the language barrier and so it's incredibly, incredibly difficult.
And I guess my biggest concern -- and it's hard to know if this is because interpretation, I didn't feel the sense of urgency as much as I'd like them to. And obviously, I knew my child had been taken. And it's quite hard to get somebody else to believe that. And --
MORGAN: Did you think -- did you think, Gerry, from the start that they were suspicious of you?
G. MCCANN: Certainly. And the next day, I know that we as the parents, and being there, and the last people to see Madeleine, that we'd be investigated. I think anyone who's got an inkling of any sort of police type investigation knows that's going to happen. So, you know, we went in and gave statements and were happy to help. And things like, you know, both the information we gave about Madeleine and what she said that morning. We gave all this information. That's exactly what we've done in the hope that it would help.
MORGAN: Has there ever been any discrepancy between anything that either of you has said? Any of your friends that were you that night? Has there been anything that if an outside lawyer looked at this, they would say, that doesn't add up?
K. MCCANN: You have to remember, there were nine people in the party here who didn't expect anything of this kind to happen. You know so if you're talking about inconsistencies of time, being off five or 10 minutes, then I think that's to be expected. I think that'd be normal. I think if it was all, you know, tightly to the minute that would be more suspicious. But there's no major --
G. MCCANN: I think one of best examples of an inconsistency is when I came out of the apartment having checked Madeleine about five past 9:00, and I was going back to the tapas area and I saw one of the guys who I played tennis with. And he was walking up the opposite side of the door to put his child, and Jane walked up and saw us.
But I'm adamant that it was on the other side of the road and Jane's adamant and in fact the other guy were adamant. So (INAUDIBLE) side of the road. So two people saying one thing, I'm saying another. The key thing is, it happened. And I can't say (INAUDIBLE), you know, my memory says it was the other side of the road.
The British police are pretty clear about this. That you get these sorts of inconsistencies all the time because no one's writing down as you're sitting up.
MORGAN: And also as Kate said, if it was all completely in agreement about every tiny detail, that to me would seem more suspicious.
G. MCCANN: Yes, absolutely.
MORGAN: When we come back, I want to talk to you about the moment that you realized the first time that the Portuguese police were not looking for anybody else in connection with Madeleine's disappearance. They were looking at you.
MORGAN: When the mood began to change, massive media attention. A lot of criticism against the Portuguese police and authorities for not move quickly enough, not doing their job properly, and they retaliate, it seems to me, or they respond -- let's be polite here -- in the worst possible way as far as you're concerned.
They make you formal suspects. Arguido. What was the moment like for you when you heard that was happening? Because that completely changed things.
K. MCCANN: I think this had gone on probably from the end of July into August really. And there's certainly change in the media coverage. And it was obvious that things have been leaked. Stories were being leaked to the media to smear us essentially or to show us in a negative light.
And that's the thing we still have to sense, the hostility. And that coincided with the time where suddenly our communication, our meetings with the police, stopped. So not only were we having to face all that negativity and lies, and we're also left in this void of information. And we found out that we were going to be made arguido.
MORGAN: That must be the worst moment of all, other than the moment you know that Madeleine's gone, to have somebody look you in the eye and effectively say to both of you we think you killed your daughter. That's a terrible moment, isn't it?
K. MCCANN: I just thought, what is going on here? You know, but you're right, nothing is worse as the first night but it just felt like we were about to get destroyed at that point.
G. MCCANN: Yes. I think the realization was a particular problem for Kate, that effectively there was no ongoing search because there is clearly a strategy where the public were being led to believe that there is evidence that Madeleine was dead. And that simply wasn't the case.
MORGAN: Gerry, you kept remarkably calm. That almost played to your disadvantage. People thought, why is he being so calm? Had you been hysterical, they'd say, why is he being so hysterical? You can't win in that position.
G. MCCANN: You didn't see me behind the scenes.
MORGAN: But you were remarkably calm. I mean, if I'd been in your shoes and I've being accused of something I -- I think would have freaked out.
How did you manage to keep your composure?
G. MCCANN: I think the key thing is -- I mean, as I say, behind the scenes --
K. MCCANN: He's probably very different. I mean, I saw my husband on the floor crying his eyes out, you know? And so I think --
G. MCCANN: I mean at that point, at the lowest point, I thought our family was going to be destroyed or the potential for it to be destroyed was there. They're ultimately -- and protect them and you're tired and you're doing that. You come back and the overwhelming objective that we have is to find Madeleine, and what you need to do to get through that and to keep that search going.
But, I mean, we should be clear, there was no formal accusation. We were never arrested. There were no charges. And the arguido thing literally is -- you know, is translated at suspect. But it would be -- you could argue if we'd been made arguido on day one, because they had to ask us some questions which might incriminate you, that would have been fine and they -- I guess I said if we have to start from square one again, you know, bring it on and we will be there and do it.
But there was clearly a portrayal in the media that there was evidence incriminating us. And you know, we were clearly suggested that if we confessed to hiding Madeleine's body then that would be the end of it.
MORGAN: Were you offered a specific deal like that? Were you offered if you'd -- if you accept that you did this, you can go to prison for two years and be out?
K. MCCANN: Yes.
MORGAN: That is what I read. Is that true?
K. MCCANN: It's true. I mean, it's hard because nobody likes to be called a deal. But indirectly it was put to us that if we confessed to hiding Madeleine's body -- so not killing her but accidental death -- if we confessed to hiding the body, then it would be a non-custodial service, two years.
And Gerry could go back to work, we were told. And that was just crazy.
You know the hardest thing, I should say, about the arguido was the realization suddenly that no one was looking for Madeleine, because they if they were looking at us and focusing all their attention and resources on us or trying to find stuff against stuff us, then who was looking for Madeleine?
So I was angry. I mean, I'd gone from kind of this downward spiral in July, when nobody was really speaking to us and August full of headlines. And suddenly I just felt strong, because I thought, no, I'm damned if this will happen to my daughter, you know? If they're not going to be there for her, then we have to fight for her.
MORGAN: Going to take another short break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about the fight that you then launched to try and find Madeleine, and what you think are the possible unanswered questions that need to be answered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K. MCCANN: We welcome the news today, although it is no cause for celebration. I can't describe how utterly despairing it was to be named arguido and subsequently portrayed in the media as suspects in our own daughter's abduction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was just after you'd been informed you were no longer arguido, no longer a suspect, as they call it there. And whilst there's relief in your voice, Kate, there's also, I can tell, a real simmering anger. what did it do to your public opinion, particularly back home here, where it was such an enormous story? You were front page news for weeks after weeks after months after months. A lot of it negative, a lot of it pushing really hard, as almost as if some of the media wanted you to be guilty. I remember reading the headlines thinking, wow, they're pushing the envelope here. You're having to live in this country and you're having to live with being called arguido, suspects.
That must have been a pretty awful experience, wasn't it?
K. MCCANN: You know, it was a great story for the media. But, you're right. This was out life. We were having to live it, you know, and --
G. MCCANN: I think it's a bad episode from the media, you know, because obviously we took action against the "Express" and it was a last resort. But they were rehashing the headlines from months before over and over again. And we were prepared to cut a bit of slack around the arguido time.
We were declared arguido. These things were happening in Portugal. But, you know, months later -- and some of the stories were just completely fabrications. It was detrimental to the south.
K. MCCANN: I think the other important issue were the stories that were being put out there were implying that Madeleine was dead.
G. MCCANN: Yes.
MORGAN: Of all the mad cat theories -- and you must have seen more than anybody else. You must hear and see everything that literally comes out about this. Are there any that you think have any kind of credibility that you think should be really pushed further?
G. MCCANN: It's incredibly difficult, Piers, because if you speak to -- here on in the island, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who've got the most expertise in these types of stranger or stereotypical kidnappings. Well, (INAUDIBLE) says and (INAUDIBLE) says until you know who has taken your daughter, you don't know.
And you can think of a whole host of scenarios. And I think that he's given us some examples.
When Elizabeth Smart was abducted at knife point from her bedroom, which she shared with her sisters, he says there was no way we could have known that she would be living just miles from home. Jaycee Dugard -- I mean in all of these cases, who could have imagined that?
So we have got to be completely open-minded as to who's taken her and why. And I don't think we'll know until we find our person.
MORGAN: One of the things that stuck me in the book is your quite open account of what it's done to your marriage, this. I mean, do you feel that you've been quite fortunate to stay together? Do you think this could have split up many couples?
K. MCCANN: I think that's without doubt, really. I mean it's such a major event to happen to your life and the consequences and ramifications are massive. And we're very fortunate. You know, we had a strong relationship before. We've got a great family and really good friends who have supported us when everyone (INAUDIBLE).
And I should know the statistics will show that most marriages break down in circumstances like this.
MORGAN: I mean, at its worst, what's it been like trying to have a relationship through this?
G. MCCANN: It's been incredibly difficult. And I think, as you can see from the footage and other things, I found my feet much quicker than Kate and was able to put away a lot of the images of Madeleine and sort of compartmentalize them and almost take a conscious aspect that thinking about the worst wasn't helping me, and it wasn't helping the search.
And there's been times where you are -- you're just managing to keep your own head above the water. And when you're trying to get support -- and this is a two-way thing and you didn't even -- I feel terrible now looking back, but there were times when I couldn't support Kate because I thought, I'm going to go under.
MORGAN: Did either of you ever get suicidal?
K. MCCANN: No. I mean, I don't think I was ever suicidal but I often wished my life would be over. You know, I'd never had planned anything or done anything. I knew that wasn't a possibility, that wasn't an option. But, you know, so much pain. I used to think about, God, let's just pull the duvet over and I won't wake up tomorrow.
MORGAN: Gerry, there have been times where he's been -- he feels bad now -- but being unable to support you. That must have been a particularly difficult period for you, when even Gerry couldn't seem to provide any comfort for you.
K. MCCANN: It was. I mean, you know, there were times when I just wanted to be held or something and -- but I -- equally I know that the times when I couldn't support my mom and dad, for example, and we've all suffered in this.
I guess you have to make sure that you're afloat in order to be able to support somebody else. You know, that works both ways. And we are very fortunate that we've had really close family that can support us at those times.
MORGAN: I'm going to have another short break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about the diary that you've kept and how cathartic that may have been for you, how helpful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
K. MCCANN: We're doing everything we can, Madeleine, to find you. And with so many good and very kind helping us. Be brave, sweetheart.
Our only Christmas wish is for you to be back with us again. And we're hoping and praying that that will happen. I love you, Madeleine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: How hard is it for you to see video footage of Madeleine, even now?
G. MCCANN: I think it's the one medium that really brings her back to me, in particular, seeing her moving and her voice. And it's our Madeleine as oppose to the iconic picture of Madeleine, the missing child. It's our daughter. And sometimes we just go and put the video on and sit and watch it with the kids, as well.
MORGAN: You're both religious people. You had a private meeting with the Pope. What was that like for you, Kate?
K. MCCANN: Well, at that point, it was just incredibly important. I mean, I truly believed that would make a difference for Madeleine. And I've often described it as the next step, really, the closest you can get to kind of meeting God in some way. And I just thought all my prayers, et cetera, would be channeled more quickly to God.
MORGAN: What did he say to you?
K. MCCANN: He just very simply took a photograph of Madeleine and placed his palm on it and blessed her. And he just said I'll continue to pray for Madeleine's safe return and for all your family.
MORGAN: Has what's happened to you damaged your faith?
K. MCCANN: It's challenged my faith. I mean, there's no doubt about that, really. I'm still, you know, I've still got my faith. But there have been times, and particularly back in 2008 -- was my worst year. I'm not embarrassed to say I felt angry with God. And I couldn't understand why all this happened, not Madeleine being taken, because I don't believe that was the will of God, but everything that had happened subsequently, and the fact that we just felt so many challenges, particularly in Portugal, where I felt we really needed help.
I really wanted someone to stand up and say, this is all wrong, we'll help you. And I guess, you know -- I threw that back at God, really, and said, why are you allowing all of this to happen, you know? We can handle so much, but this just seems too much.
MORGAN: Gerry, do you still keep Madeleine's room as it always was? G. MCCANN: Yes. There's a lot more stuff in it now. Lots of presents and things. But I've pretty much kept it. I'm like sentimental about it, I have to say. But Kate finds it particularly comforting in there --
K. MCCANN: And Sean and Amelie like going in. They always go in and say, can we borrow one of Madeleine's teddy bears and --
MORGAN: How have they dealt with it?
K. MCCANN: Brilliantly. We've always been as honest as we could be with them. And that was certainly the advice we were given.
MORGAN: What do they think happened to Madeleine?
K. MCCANN: Well, they know that a man has taken her. And they know that that's wrong. And they know that we're all looking for her, lots of people are helping us.
G. MCCANN: Looking at Sean and Amelie, though, you really didn't know that a major trauma has happened in their lives. They can talk about -- we were on holiday last week and meet little kids. And they talk about brothers and sisters, and they say, oh, we've got a big sister Madeleine but she's missing and we're looking for her. And they talk about the response.
MORGAN: Today would have been her eighth birthday. I mean, every part of you must be wondering what she looks like now, apart from anything else, how would you have celebrated today. I mean, do you commemorate the day? Will you do anything with the other two children? How do you deal with a birthday when she's not there?
K. MCCANN: Well, what we've done the last few -- few years, we have marked the day. I mean, we've had like a -- just a sort of small sort of birthday tea really with close family and friends. This year's obviously different with the launch of the book and stuff. So we're very busy.
I mean, it's hard -- I find it hard to think, well, I've got an eight-year-old daughter. You know, and as you say, what does she look like? And I do try and imagine her and make her taller and stuff. And -- but it's hard, you know, because we should be -- we should be with her, you know, celebrating her birthday together, so --
G. MCCANN: In many ways, I think launching a book today is a good thing to do on her birthday. It's doing something positive. It's reenergizing the search. We've launched the campaign, as she said, with News International to get a review.
And I think these are milestones that you pass and you know there's going to be media attention irrespective. So it's always a good time, from our point of view, to capitalize on that. We've just got to find her really.
MORGAN: After the break, we'll talk specifically about how people watching this can possible help you, and to see also where you think the focus of investigation should now be.
MORGAN: How can people help? If you're watching this interview and you're keen to try and help you in some way in the search for Madeleine, what is the most effective way that people can do this?
G. MCCANN: I think it's two things. One, read the book, "Madeleine." And our website has all the key information as well and contact numbers and key images. So that's www findmadeline.com. And there's lots of information through that.
People in the U.K. and Portugal, we want them to lobby their MPs and governments to conduct a review. And that's the call to action today really, to try and get that done.
MORGAN: Madeleine had a very distinctive eye pattern, didn't she? Tell me about that, Kate, in case people see somebody they think may be Madeleine. Tell me about her eye.
K. MCCANN: If I'm honest, we haven't put too much emphasis on her eye, because I think you have to be very close to her to see it. But her eyes are slightly different colors, and one of them has this brown fleck in it. But you do notice, particularly on photographs, but --
MORGAN: Slightly distinctive eye colors and a little fleck.
MORGAN: And do you know if that would be still there if she's now eight years old?
G. MCCANN: Certainly believe it wouldn't have changed. I think there's been a pattern to be still there. That it's -- the technical term is coloboma, where there's a defect in the iris. I don't think it is actually. I think it's actually an additional bit of color. She certainly had no visual problems.
MORGAN: If people see somebody they think could possibly be Madeleine, who should they call?
G. MCCANN: They should call the police, local police. You know, if they really think it is Madeleine and it gets addressed there and then. It's actually quite difficult if you get information coming in historically about sightings. So the advice is clear, is should be to call the local police.
K. MCCANN: But if they could call all options and let our investigation team know as well, that would be really helpful.
MORGAN: Have there been moments when you've been pretty much confident that you may have found her?
G. MCCANN: Never.
K. MCCANN: I don't think so. And I don't think we've ever allowed ourselves to go there. I mean, earlier on when there was the odd kind of -- what turned out to be a hoax call, you always have that real hope of this could be it, it could all just be over. But since then, because of the total and emotional roller coaster really that we've been on, you just try and hold back really.
And a lot of the pictures that we've been sent that have been looked at, you kind of know it's not, but you just need total verification.
MORGAN: Do you still talk to Madeleine? Do you still have any kind of conversation with her?
K. MCCANN: I do. I mean, I still go into her bedroom twice a day just to -- really just to open the curtains and stuff and close them at night, and I just have a little word to her. And I still keep my diaries, so --
MORGAN: Can you sleep OK now?
K. MCCANN: I can, actually, yeah. It took a long time, cause the nights were the worst. I mean, I still have the odd night where if she's very much on my mind and something's upset me then it's hard to sleep, but I'm sleeping fine now.
MORGAN: I mean, there have been -- as you said earlier, there have been cases quite recently of girls who just disappeared reappearing -- in Jaycee Dugard's case, 18 years later -- from captivity. When you see those stories, does your heart flip a bit? Do you think there's hope, or is it almost like a knife in your back that Madeleine hasn't?
K. MCCANN: I think, overall, it gives you hope. I mean, you know, obviously every day we hope that it's not going to be 18 years, as every parent would. But at the end of the day, it just highlights how easy it is for children to disappear off the radar and to turn up, you know, many, many years later. So, by that point, many people would have written that child off for dead and it just shows you how wrong you can be.
G. MCCANN: I think the strongest thing for us is the public consciousness that these sorts of abductions, children are found. And that is more important and it's really important not to give up on Madeleine.
You can't give up on them. You've got to keep her image out there. And who knows how she'll be found, whether it be recognized. Mostly we want to try and track the abductor.
MORGAN: I mean, there's a tiny chance, I guess, that Madeleine might be somewhere where she may see this interview. You never know. You don't know who she's with or where she is. If she was, what would you say to her?
G. MCCANN: I'd say, Madeleine, we're still looking for you and if you get a chance, tell the police who you are. MORGAN: Kate, what would you -- what would you say, if you had the chance?
K. MCCANN: I would just say, you know, we love you, Madeleine. We're not giving up. We're still looking for you. If you can, let somebody know, honey, and we'll get you home.
MORGAN: Well, I -- I just hope you keep the faith and that she turns up. I think everybody does. It's been a harrowing time for you. Can't even begin to imagine what you've been through, but I really appreciate you spending the time with me.
K. MCCANN: Thank you.
G. MCCANN: Thank you very much for having us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tomorrow night, an extraordinary story of transformation; Chaz Bono on becoming a man after being born a woman. His first live, prime time interview with his partner, Jennifer Allear (ph). That's tomorrow night, 9:00 Eastern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now here's Anderson Cooper with "AC 360."