The parents of Madeleine McCann have insisted their daughter is alive and may be in Spain.
Kate and Gerry McCann gave interviews to Spain's three top-selling newspapers in which they insisted there was a 'very real possibility' their daughter had not been killed
This appears to go against recent Portuguese police statements acknowledging for the first time that Madeleine could be dead.
The couple refused to say whether police have told them the young girl could be in Spain, but their interviews will fuel speculation that detectives have a new lead.
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Kate and Gerry McCann outside the villa where Madeleine went missing: they insist she's alive and could have been taken to Spain
Read more...Pledging to ensure his daughter would not "become a statistic", Mr McCann told El Mundo: "There is a very real possibility that Madeleine is alive and we want the police to look for her."
He went on: "The possibility that Madeleine is alive and in Spain is real. It is something we did not consider at the beginning, but now we are seriously weighing up.
"The border between the two countries is very big. If someone had a car, it is clear they could cross into Spain. There is no border guard and no one closed the border the night Madeleine disappeared."
Madeleine: missing for more than 100 daysAsked if the couple had received concrete information from Spanish police that Madeleine was alive and in Spain, Mr McCann said: "They are involved in the investigation, but I cannot tell you what they are working on, they will have to tell you officially."
Preliminary DNA tests on the blood traces found in the flat have revealed it probably came from a man from north-eastern Europe, The Times reported last week.
The McCanns refused to discuss the report today, but Mrs McCann told El Pais: "That the samples could correspond to another person is not that surprising."
Mr McCann also strongly defended the friends the couple were dining with on the night Madeleine went missing.
Dr Russell O'Brien, 36, was forced to issue a statement yesterday condemning "completely untrue and extremely hurtful" smears about him published in the Portuguese press.
Mr McCann told El Mundo: "We know the police have to investigate all possibilities. But what remains clear is that we have not the slightest doubt in and fully trust our friends."
It was reported today that police have advised the McCanns to stay in Portugal in case there is a major development.
A spokeswoman for the family said she was aware of the reports, but stressed that the couple are not suspects and can return to Britain whenever they choose.
Mr McCann plans to travel to Scotland on Friday to speak at the Edinburgh Festival the following day.
The spokeswoman also played down reports that police had admitted for the first time that they could "archive" the case if they fail to discover what happened to Madeleine.
She said: "Our understanding is that these cases are never closed - they might not be solved, but they are never closed."
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