Missing British girl's parents say hunt must go on

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LONDON, Sep 15 (Reuters) The parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann are to launch an advertising campaign across Europe to try to shift attention back to the search for their daughter, a family member said today.

Gerry and Kate McCann, who are formal suspects in the police investigation into her disappearance, believe she is still alive and have asked police to keep looking for the four-year-old.

They will pay for the campaign using a million pound fund donated by well-wishers since their daughter was reported missing while on holiday in Portugal on May 3.

''The fund will finance a broad range of initiatives in advertising to remind everyone that Madeleine is still missing,'' Gerry McCann's brother John said in a statement. ''I hope that the general public will continue to support us in this.'' The McCanns, both 39-year-old doctors, returned to England last Sunday after Portuguese detectives questioned them both as suspects for hours.

No charges have been brought and on Tuesday, Portugal's public prosecutor passed the case against the McCanns to a criminal judge who will decide whether there are grounds for a trial.

They have faced intense media scrutiny over their involvement in the case. Gerry McCann described the latest newspaper reports about them as ''ludicrous''.

''There are large craters in every one of these theories, in these just ludicrous accusations,'' he told a friend in comments reported in the Sun newspaper.

''As far as Kate and I are concerned, there is no evidence to suggest that Madeleine is dead. We are 100 per cent together on this, not one grain of suspicion about each other.'' A family spokeswoman said the couple have received between 500 and 1,000 letters and messages since they arrived home in Rothley, Leicestershire.

They have no immediate plans to return to Portugal, she added.

REUTERS GT BST1854

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