LONDON – The family of a 4-year-old British girl missing in Portugal said Saturday it was planning a $160,000 advertising campaign urging people to keep looking for the child, whose parents have been named suspects in the disappearance.
The newspaper, television and billboard campaign will be focused on Spain, Portugal and other parts of Europe and will be paid for using donations from a $2 million fund set up to help find Madeleine McCann, her uncle, John McCann, said in a statement.
"I hope that the general public will continue to support us in this. It is so important that we remember — 'Don't you forget about me,' our lovely wee Madeleine," he said, speaking as the fund's administrator.
Celebrities including children's author J.K. Rowling and soccer star David Beckham made public appeals in May that helped the family raise money for their fund.
Saturday's announcement followed the family's decision not to spend the proceeds from the fund on legal costs for Madeline's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.
The parents were taking stock and preparing their legal case after a week of intense media speculation about their possible role in their daughter's disappearance during their vacation in southern Portugal on May 3, said Natalie Orringe, a spokeswoman for the McCanns.
The couple, both doctors, have no plans to leave their hometown of Rothley, in central England, to return to Portugal unless required to do so, she said.
They have been named as suspects in her disappearance, but deny any involvement and insist police keep searching for their missing girl.
A Portuguese investigating judge began examining the police file on Madeleine's disappearance on Wednesday and is expected to announce a decision next week on what further steps are required to determine what happened to her.
Forensic tests conducted at a government laboratory in Britain found evidence indicating that DNA from Madeleine was in the trunk of a car the parents used in Portugal's Algarve region after her disappearance.
However, Portugal's national police chief, Alipio Ribeiro, said on Monday that the forensic tests on the car were not conclusive and that he expected the investigation to continue.