As most of us have been getting on with our lives, Madeline McCann is still missing. The memory is as painful today as it was when she disappeared on that horrible day in Praia DaLuz Portugual on May 3rd 2007.
Apart from the well known Donegal connection stretching from St. Johnston to Burtonport, which has made it hugely personal for many people in this county, it also bears a gut wrenching similiarity to Ireland’s long missing person’s case - that of Mary Boyle, who disappeared from outrside her grandparents house near Ballyshannon in March of 1977.
Four years ago, Madeline McCann had visited Donegal with her family in the weeks before her disappearnce and had even began how to learn to swim.
As the weeks and months assed, we all saw the huge strain that it had put in her parents, the accusations, the conspracy theories and the sheer devastation of every head movement and word uttered being analysed.
But one thing remained stradfast. The hope that Madeline will be found alive, wherever she may be.
The family made a high profile appearance on the Late Late Show in recent weeks to coincide with the publication of their book, Madeline.
Probably the hardest thing for the family, has been the need to keep Madeline’s story in the limelight
In recent weeks, a chain eamil has been making its mark, being passed on by millions of internet users, including staff at the Donegal Democrat.
The letter, originaly sent by an Aunt of the missing child, Phil McCann, it encourages everyone to send the email to everyone in their address book and the senders reckon that it could cover 80% of the world’s inboxes in a period of two weeks.
There are some suggestions that it is reheated news, but the fact that strikes one the most on reading it, is that however Madeline has aged over the past four years, if she is still alive, the striking right eye colouration, will not have changed in that time.
Mrs McCann said: “We want to make the most of it (her eye), because we know her hair could potentially be cut or dyed.”
And like the McCann’s we all live in the hope that something can help solve this mystery, as we cannot forget that over 2,000 children go missing throughout the world each year.