The Citizen (Gauteng)

Reminder to keep your kids safe


It is sadly sobering to think that, if she is still alive, missing British girl Madeleine McCann would have turned 18 yesterday. It’s a day wrapped in sorrow for her parents, Kate and Gerry. Madeleine disappeare­d 14 years ago, when the family was on holiday in Portugal. The story quickly became a global media circus, as rumours and gossip abounded.

Were the McCanns somehow guilty themselves – of involvemen­t, or of being reckless parents who weren’t looking out for the safety and welfare of their child?

The McCanns – amazingly still married after all the emotional and psychologi­cal trauma they went through – have shunned the spotlight in recent years, saying they want to protect Maddy’s younger brother and sister from the publicity.

A week before Maddy’s birthday, in a message coinciding with the anniversar­y of her disappeara­nce, Kate and Gerry wrote of the years that had been “lost or stolen” with their daughter. They added that they “hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again”.

In the meantime, German prosecutor­s are still pursuing inquiries which may link a convicted sex criminal to the McCann case.

The story sends shudders through all parents and grandparen­ts. Keep your kids safe.

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