Kate and Gerry McCann have released a statement following the news of a formal suspect being identified over Madeleine's disappearance.
This week, Christian Brueckner was officially named as a suspect in the case for the first time by Portuguese authorities, his lawyer confirmed.
Portuguese authorities identified the German paedophile, 45, as an 'arguido' or 'named suspect' on Wednesday (20 April).
In a statement released on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page, Madeleine's parents said: "We welcome the news that the Portuguese authorities have declared a German man an 'arguido' in relation to the disappearance of our beloved daughter Madeleine.
"This reflects progress in the investigation, being conducted by the Portuguese, German and British authorities. We are kept informed of developments by the Metropolitan Police.
"It is important to note the 'arguido' has not yet been charged with any specific crime related to Madeleine's disappearance."
They continued: "Even though the possibility may be slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive and we will be reunited with her."
Brueckner was first named unofficially as a suspect in 2020 after the discovery of phone records that placed him in Praia da Luz - the Algarve region McCann went missing from - on the night of her disappearance.
In May of this year, it will be 15 years since Madeleine was reported missing, and country's statute of limitations prevents prosecutions after this period of time.
Spencer Dohner, of MDM Legal in Faro, told The Sun that anyone responsible for a crime punishable by 10 or more years in prison 'cannot generally be prosecuted once 15 years has passed'.
By naming Brueckner as an arguido - someone police are treating as more than a witness without actually pressing charges - the investigation can continue.
The Mirror reports that the convict's lawyer, Friedrich Fuelscher, said: "The step taken by the Portuguese authorities should not be overrated.
“Without knowing the Portuguese legal situation in detail, I assume that this measure is a procedural artifice to stop the statute of limitations threatening in a few days."
Brueckner is currently serving a rape sentence at a prison in Oldenburg, northwest Germany, and is also facing charges for the 2004 rape of Hazel Behan, an Irish national, in Portugal.
Madeleine was first reported missing on 3 May, 2007, while holidaying in the Algarve in Portugal with her parents Kate and Gerry.
She was three years old when she vanished, and it's arguably one of the most widely and consistently covered missing person cases in history.Featured Image Credit: Alamy