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Meet Madeleine McCann's forgotten twin siblings

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They were just two years old when their sister disappeared, but they remember Maddie clearly and miss her everyday.

Jun 04, 2020 8:00am
The disappearance of Madeleine McCann is one of the most mysterious and tragic missing persons cases the world has ever seen.
The three-year-old disappeared on May 3, 2007 from her bed in her parent's holiday villa in Portugal, while the couple were having dinner with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.
Maddie has never been found - dead or alive - and no tangible leads have ever been discovered. If she is alive, she would be 17 years old today.
Now 13 years later, the case is back in the spotlight as British and German authorities are investigating a new suspect, a 43-year-old German man, who has previously been convicted over the sexual abuse of children.
The suspect is currently serving a "long" prison sentence "for an unrelated matter", German officials said in June. This suspect is now being investigated for the "possible murder" of Maddie McCann.
Last year, the case also faced renewed interest following the release of the Netflix documentary, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
The documentary once again turned the focus back onto the McCann family, who live in Rothley, a small English town in Leicestershire, about 2.5 hours north of London.
Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry McCann, both 52, have two other children, twins Sean and Amelie, both 15.
While Maddie's face is instantly recognisable around the world, we know very little about the two siblings she was sleeping just metres away from when she was allegedly stolen from her bed.
The twins were aged only two at the time of their sister's disappearance.
The three siblings were all sleeping in the same bedroom, while their parents dined at their hotel's restaurant just 55 metres away.
When Kate McCann went to check on her children at 10pm, she found Maddie had disappeared from her bed, while her twins were sleeping peacefully, untouched.
So what has life been like for Sean and Amelie, growing up without their older sister?
Here's everything you need to know.
There are no publicly-available photos of Sean and Amelie, who are now both 15 years old.
They keep a very low profile and are never photographed by the press, despite their parents leading a very public awareness campaign, involving the media and police, in an attempt to find Maddie.
The twins attend a local Catholic high school in their small town, which has retained a place for Maddie, who would be 17 years old now, if she is ever found.
Both Sean and Amelie are both aspiring athletes, competing in swimming championships, triathlons and cross country racing.
The absence of their sister has left a dark cloud over the lives of Sean and Amelie, despite their parents trying to create the most normal life for them as possible.
In an interview with The Sun, Kate McCann said her twins have "grown up essentially without Madeleine but knowing their sister is missing and they want her back."
Keeping busy is the family's way of coping, but still it will never fill the void left by Maddie's absence.
"They have their own friends and they keep busy and they're really sporty but their only wish is for their big sister to come home. We miss our complete family of five," an anguished Kate told The Sun.
"As a family 98 percent of the time we're busy. I don't know if that's a conscious thing but it helps. The urge to look for Madeleine absolutely hasn't changed at all."
Sean and Amelie's 13th birthday celebrations in 2017 were particularly poignant, as they were held around the 10 year anniversary of Maddie's disappearance.
While the twins celebrated the special milestone with friends and family, all they really wanted for their birthday was for Maddie to be found.
"Their only wish is for their big sister to come home," a family friend told The Sun.
Kate and Gerry threw a joint birthday party for the twins to celebrate the duo officially becoming teenagers.
Guests at the celebration revealed the party was filled with reminders of Maddie.
One guest said: "There will be prayers to remember Madeleine as well wherever she is. Kate and Gerry want to give the twins a memorable occasion, they're teenagers now and that's a big deal.
"But the party will be marred with a tinge of sadness because Madeleine is not here to join in the fun."
Maddie's parents say despite the immense tragedy their family has faced, they try to live their lives in "as normal way as possible", for the sake of the twins.
Heartbreakingly, Kate has previously revealed she still buys birthday and Christmas presents for Madeleine. They are all ready and waiting in her room in the family home, which has been left untouched since her disappearance.
"I obviously have to think about what age she is and something that, whenever we find her, will still be appropriate, so there's a lot of thought goes into it," she told the BBC.
"But I couldn't not, you know; she's still our daughter, she'll always be our daughter."
Watch the trailer for the Netflix documentary below. Story continues after the video
Kate says despite all of her children being so young when tragedy struck, Amelie and Sean still remember Maddie and talk about her often.
"The twins are doing really well," Kate told The Sun in 2015.
"They are up to date, they know everything, they know if we are meeting police. There is nothing kept from them.
"They've grown up essentially without Madeleine, knowing their sister is missing and they want her back.
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Where are Madeleine McCann’s twin siblings now and how old were they when she disappeared?

MADELEINE McCann vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Portugal in 2007 where she was sleeping alongside her twin siblings Sean and Amelie.

Now aged 15, the twins have grown up without knowing their older sister who is still missing.

 Sean and Amelie were aged two when Madeleine vanished and have grown up without knowing their big sister

2

Where are the twins now?

Sean and Amelie live with parents Kate and Gerry at their home in the town of Loughborough in Leicestershire.

They attend a Catholic secondary school the area which retains a place for their sister Madeleine, who would be aged 17 now, if she is ever found.

The twins are both aspiring athletes and have competed in triathlons and country crossing racing.

Were the twins awake when Madeleine vanished?

In the Netflix documentary The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, it is claimed Sean and Amelie were asleep during Madeleine’s suspected abduction.

In the film, Portuguese police discuss how the twins were also said to have slept through the commotion which followed mum Kate discovering their sister was missing.

This led to speculation that the twin babies had been sedated by whoever was responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance – although this claim has never been proven.

 Madeleine remains missing after disappearing from a holiday flat in Portugal in 2007

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How old were the twins in 2007?

Sean and Amelie were aged only two at the time of their sister’s disappearance on May 3, 2007.

Former GP Kate, now a medical worker, said her twins have “grown up essentially without Madeleine but knowing their sister is missing and they want her back.”

The anguished mum, speaking in the past to promote her charity Missing People of which she is an ambassador, added: “They have their own friends and they keep busy and they’re really sporty but their only wish is for their big sister to come home.

“We miss our complete family of five.

“As a family 98 per cent of the time we’re busy. I don’t know if that’s a conscious thing but it helps.

"The urge to look for Madeleine absolutely hasn’t changed at all.”

Fresh hope for Maddie McCann’s parents as they reveal Jayme Closs case has boosted confidence they’ll find missing daughter


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Where Are Madeleine Mccann’s Siblings Now?

’48 Hours: The Puzzle: Solving the Madeleine McCann Case’ examines all the details of a disappearance that has shaken the international investigative world to its very core. In early May 2007, a nearly 4-year-old girl named Madeleine McCann vanished from her room in a holiday resort in Portugal that she shared with her two younger siblings. On that fateful evening, the three kids had been left asleep by their parents as they went to have dinner in a restaurant about 55 meters away. But sadly, tragedy still struck. And now, if you’re here wondering where Madeleine’s siblings are today, we’ve got you covered.

Who Are Madeleine McCann’s Siblings?

While Madeleine McCann was born to Kate and Gerry McCann on May 12, 2003, her siblings, twins Amelie and Sean McCann, were brought into this world in February of 2005. In other words, Amelie and Sean were just a little over two-years-old when they last saw their sister. As per reports, the twins were sleeping right alongside Madeleine in their room when she was allegedly abducted. However, they are said to have slept through the entire commotion of the incident, as well as the ensuing chaos of their mother raising the alarms.

The fact that they were just toddlers, and should have logically woken up by the loud voices, led to speculation of them having been sedated by whoever was responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance. However, it is a claim that has never been proven. Thus, the brother-sister duo couldn’t have helped even if they wanted to or knew how. And so, while knowing that they have an elder sister who is missing, they have grown up without Madeleine. According to The Sun, their mother Kate says that the twins just “want her back.”

Where Are Madeleine McCann’s Siblings Now?

As 16-year-olds, Amelie and Sean are currently attending a local Catholic high school in their small town of Rothley, Leicestershire, which is about two and a half hours north of London. Their school has retained a place for their elder sister, who would turn 18 this May, if she is ever found. But, even though this particular information is publicly available, finding out what the twins look like today is almost impossible. They both keep a low profile, and despite their parents leading a media-based campaign to find Madeleine, they have not been publicly photographed as teenagers.

Both Amelie and Sean are apparently aspiring athletes who have already have competed in triathlons, swimming championships, and cross-country racing. Yet, the fact that Madeleine is not with them continues to be a constant dark cloud over their lives. “They have their own friends and they keep busy and they’re really sporty,” Kate McCann revealed to The Sun, “but their only wish is for their big sister to come home. We miss our complete family of five.” Then, she added, “as a family, 98% of the time we’re busy. I don’t know if that’s a conscious thing but it helps.” However, for all of them, “the urge to look for Madeleine absolutely hasn’t changed at all.”

Read More: Where is Christian Brueckner Now?

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The Madeleine McCann Case - The UNEXPECTED Language Of Gerry And Kate McCann In First Interview

Heartbreaking rituals for Maddie: BETH HALE examines how life has moved on for the McCanns

Thirteen years is a long time in the life of a family; so much can change.

And in many respects that simple fact is no different for Kate and Gerry McCann, for whom family life was torn apart when their daughter Madeleine disappeared.

Back then, their youngest children, twins Sean and Amelie, were just two.

Today, the twins are 15, bright, athletic, ever-growing teenagers who attend a Catholic secondary school in Loughborough, not far from the family home in Rothley, in Leicestershire, the same school where for all these years a place has been held for Maddie.

It has been 13 years since Madeleine disappeared from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Algarve, on 3 May 2007. Pictured, Kate and Gerry McCann present their book at a hotel in Hamburg, Germany in September 2011

It has been 13 years since Madeleine disappeared from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Algarve, on 3 May 2007. Pictured, Kate and Gerry McCann present their book at a hotel in Hamburg, Germany in September 2011

Kate McCann, once a GP, never returned to her work as a locum, but is now a prominent ambassador for the charity Missing People and has taken her medical training into a different area of medicine, helping dementia sufferers.

The Mail has learned this involves monitoring patients with memory loss, taking them to and from vital appointments with experts to assess their wellbeing and 'simply being there for them'.

A friend says: 'It's a different area to her general practice and it gives her some normality and focus. It takes up more of her time now but as the twins get older they are becoming more independent. 

'She chose not to return to being a doctor because she didn't want patients judging her, feeling sorry for her or discussing Madeleine.'

Gerry's career continues to thrive. A renowned consultant cardiologist, he is now Professor Gerry McCann at the University of Leicester. 

He has been awarded £1.95 million funding for research into heart disease and is now leading a team of experts in the use of MRI scanners to study early signs of heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes.

His hours can be long, and he has to travel for work. But the couple, whose marriage has weathered unimaginable strain, enjoy simple pleasures, like watching charity cricket matches in Rothley, or drinking in the garden of a cafe.

And yet, the fifth, missing member of this tight-knit family remains very much a part of their lives.

The fifth, missing member of this tight-knit family remains very much a part of their lives, as Kate still selects presents for her Maddie's birthdays and Christmas and her bedroom remains untouched. Gerry and Kate McCann are pictured with twins Sean and Amelie in May 2007

The fifth, missing member of this tight-knit family remains very much a part of their lives, as Kate still selects presents for her Maddie's birthdays and Christmas and her bedroom remains untouched. Gerry and Kate McCann are pictured with twins Sean and Amelie in May 2007

Maddie's pink-hued bedroom remains untouched, her dolls and teddy bears still sit in a line, Kate still faithfully selects presents for her missing daughter each birthday and Christmas, trying to ensure each gift is chosen to reflect the age Maddie would be.

Every day Kate, 52, spends time in her daughter's room with its glowing stars on the ceiling. Opening and closing the curtains was, she once said, a ritual.

Those precious moments in what is as much a sanctuary as a bedroom doubtless help to maintain her faith that her daughter may yet be found.

Gerry will be 52 tomorrow; he would doubtless have been thinking about Maddie anyway, wondering what she looks like now, what she is doing. 

But how much more she will surely be in his thoughts with yesterday's startling news from Germany?

The heartbreaking chasm between what family life was and what it is now was something the McCanns spoke about three years ago when, to mark the tenth anniversary of Maddie's disappearance, they were interviewed for the BBC by Fiona Bruce.

'I think before Madeleine was taken, we felt we had managed to achieve our little perfect nuclear family of five,' said Gerry.

'And we had that for a short period and I suppose, almost the same way as if your child becomes ill or seriously ill, or has died, like many other families have suffered... then your vision is altered and you have to adapt.

Kate McCann, once a GP, is now a prominent ambassador for the charity Missing People and has taken her medical training to help dementia sufferers. She is pictured talking outside the civil court in Lisbon in September 2013

Kate McCann, once a GP, is now a prominent ambassador for the charity Missing People and has taken her medical training to help dementia sufferers. She is pictured talking outside the civil court in Lisbon in September 2013

'And, unfortunately for us, a new normality is a family of four. But we have adapted and that's important. The last five years in particular have allowed us to really properly devote time to looking after the twins and ourselves and, of course, carrying on with our work.

'At some point, you've got to realise that time is not frozen and I think both of us realise that we owed it to the twins to make sure that their life is as fulfilling as they deserve, and we have certainly tried our best to achieve that.'

Sean looks just like his dad, and Amelie, with her long, blonde hair and striking features a little more like her mum. 

Unsurprisingly, Kate and Gerry are protective of the twins, conscious that while they still have a role in the public eye, their twins' privacy and right to enjoy an unfettered childhood is something entirely different.

The McCanns, both keen runners, have instilled their passion for sport in their twins, who have apparently both turned into promising athletes, enjoying cross-country running.

All four McCanns are often seen out and about in the village, where a candle still burns around the clock for Madeleine and shops continue to display posters pleading: 'Don't give up on me.' 

This year has been particularly strange for the family, with so many key dates unfolding during lockdown.

This year, Kate McCann couldn't attend a church service to pray for Maddie and other missing children on Mother's Day as it was cancelled due to coronavirus. She is pictured attending a church service on May 3, 2019, marking the anniversary of Madeleine going missing

This year, Kate McCann couldn't attend a church service to pray for Maddie and other missing children on Mother's Day as it was cancelled due to coronavirus. She is pictured attending a church service on May 3, 2019, marking the anniversary of Madeleine going missing

First there was Mother's Day, a poignant 13th without Madeleine. It's an occasion when, typically, the devout Catholic mother attends Mass at her local church to pray for Maddie and other missing children.  

This year the service was cancelled because of the coronavirus.

Then came the anniversary of the youngster's disappearance.

Posting on their Find Madeleine Facebook site on May 2, they wrote: 'It is now 13 years since we were last with Madeleine. 

'Her 17th birthday is to follow in the next couple of weeks — the latter tangibly, painfully, bringing it home to us what we have missed and continue to miss as a family.

'We have been fortunate to spend more time together as a family since lockdown began, an enforced block to a usually frenetic life, a silver lining to this dark cloud. It has made us think about Madeleine even more, as she would have shared this period of special closeness with us, too.'

Both Kate and Gerry have spoken of the mental impact their loss has had. 

And Maddie's birthday, on May 12, is a day Kate finds particularly tough. 'I do all the present buying,' she once said: 'I think about what age she is and buy something that, whenever we find her, will still be appropriate so there's a lot of thought goes into it.'

There are public messages, too, in the hope Maddie will see them. 

This year, alongside a cherished last photo of her as a three-year-old, beaming in her Everton football shirt, they wrote: 'We love you and we're waiting for you and we're never going to give up.'

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Family now mccann

Madeleine McCann's parents Kate and Gerry McCann mark missing daughter's 18th birthday

The parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann are marking the 18th birthday of their daughter on Wednesday, more than a decade since she disappeared on holiday in Portugal.

Key points:

  • Madeleine went missing just days before her fourth birthday
  • Her case sparked an international media fenzy
  • No trace of her has ever been found but investigations continue

A week before Madeleine's birthday, in a message coinciding with the 14th anniversary of her disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann wrote of the years that had been "lost or stolen" with their daughter.

"Every May is tough – a reminder of years passed, of years together lost, or stolen. This year it is particularly poignant as we should be celebrating Madeleine's 18th birthday. Enough said," they wrote.

"The COVID pandemic has made this year even more difficult for many reasons but thankfully the investigation to find Madeleine and her abductor has continued.

"We hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again.

"As we have said repeatedly, we need to know what has happened to our lovely daughter, no matter what. We are very grateful to the police for their continued efforts.

"We still receive so many positive words and good wishes despite the years that have gone by. It all helps and for that, we are truly grateful – thank you."

Despite the high-profile nature of Madeleine's disappearance and extensive media coverage, a source close to the family said the McCanns were very private people and would only comment if there was a fundamental development in the case.

A blonde woman and brown haired man hold up an image of a young girl.

Her parents' priority, they said, was to protect Madeleine's younger brother and sister from the media spotlight, so they were only currently updating the public through their official website.

Madeleine or "Maddy", as she is known in Britain, vanished from her family's apartment in the Algarve holiday resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.

Man walks dog next to white apartment building

The disappearance, just days before her fourth birthday, sparked a massive search effort and an international media frenzy.

No trace of her has ever been found. 

At the time, the now-defunct News of the World tabloid offered £1.5 million ($AU 2.7 million) for information leading to Madeleine's return and advertised the reward on a huge inflatable billboard.

A 2011 inquiry into press standards heard that the then-editor of the UK's Daily Express newspaper decided the Madeleine McCann story was the only one he was interested in putting on the front page. 

German investigators have identified a convicted sex offender, named in the press as "Christian B", as a prime suspect in the case.

Why new German suspect is different

Here are five reasons why the recent announcement could be a significant development.

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German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said that the authorities had "several proceedings being brought against the suspect, but in all cases, we do not yet foresee an end to the investigation".

Reports in the British press earlier this month claimed that police in Germany had hoped to charge him with a 2004 rape, carried out only a 30-minute drive from where Madeleine went missing, within three months.

Mr Wolters said, however, that the three-month time frame was "unfortunately a false report".

"Christian B", who is suspected of raping an Irish tour representative, is currently serving a seven-year sentence in a prison in Hanover, northern Germany, for the rape of a 72-year-old American in Praia da Luz in 2005.

London's Metropolitan Police continue to treat Madeleine's disappearance as a missing person inquiry and said investigations were ongoing.

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Kate McCann: My son asked me if I had hidden Madeleine - 5 News

Madeleine McCann: Parents 'hang on to hope' ahead of 18th birthday

Madeleine McCann's parents say they are hanging on to the hope of seeing her again as they prepare to mark her 18th birthday.

In a statement, Kate and Gerry McCann said they still need to know what happened to her, "no matter what".

Madeleine disappeared on 3 May 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday on 12 May.

People usually gather in her home village of Rothley in Leicestershire to mark the anniversary.

However, the pandemic meant this could not happen so online prayers were said instead.

In their statement, Mr and Mrs McCann said: "Every May is tough - a reminder of years passed, of years together lost, or stolen.

"This year it is particularly poignant as we should be celebrating Madeleine's 18th birthday. Enough said."

They said the Covid-19 pandemic had made the year "even more difficult for many reasons", but were thankful the investigation to find Madeleine had continued.

Image source, Getty Images

"We hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again," they said.

"As we have said repeatedly, we need to know what has happened to our lovely daughter, no matter what. We are very grateful to the police for their continued efforts."

'Never give up'

The Reverend Rob Gladstone, vicar of Rothley Parish Church, asked people to continue to pray for Madeleine's family and the families of other missing children.

"In just a week's time, Madeleine will be 18, a very significant event in the life of every family, and so we want to pray especially for Gerry and Kate in the days ahead," he said.

"The family wish us to never, never, never give up, to leave no stone unturned, not to forget about Madeleine and to recognise that although still missing, she is still missed."

During the online service on Monday, he also read a poem called The Beacon, which was written by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage especially for the family.

The Madeleine McCann case: A timeline

  • Madeleine went missing from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on 3 May 2007 while her parents were having dinner at a nearby restaurant
  • Her whereabouts remain unknown, despite her disappearance being the most heavily reported missing person case
  • In Britain, the most recent Metropolitan Police investigation, which began in 2011, has cost more than £11m
  • The case has been the subject of multiple documentaries, including a Netflix series criticised by Madeleine's parents
  • German prosecutors, who have identified a suspect, said Madeleine is assumed to be dead

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Madeleine McCann’s family has suffered greatly following her disappearance 13 years ago. After authorities revealed there is a new suspect in Maddy’s case on Wednesday, June 3, her family has a renewed sense of hope.

According to the German State Prosecutor’s office, the suspect in question is a 43-year-old German man currently serving a “long prison sentence” for an unrelated crime. He has previously been convicted for child sexual abuse, but now he is being investigated “for possible murder.”

Days before her 4th birthday, Madeleine was taken from the comfort of her family’s vacation home on May 3, 2007. Her parents, Kate and Gerry, were out to dinner with friends when they came home to realize their daughter had gone missing.

Scroll below for an update on Madeleine’s family.

See Where Madeleine McCann Family Is Now Following Reports of a New Suspect in Her Disappearance

Madeleine McCann’s Parents Never Gave Up Hope

Kate and Gerry McCann continued to work as physicians in the years following their daughter’s disappearance. Although the couple has been together for 22 years, Madeleine’s kidnapping took a toll on their marriage. “Tortured as I was by these images, it’s not surprising that even the thought of sex repulsed me,” Kate wrote in her 2012 autobiography Madeleine: Our Daughter’s Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her. “I worried about Gerry and me. I worried that if I didn’t get our sex life on track our whole relationship would break down.”

Despite their hardships, they “never gave up hope” of finding Madeleine alive, Kate and Gerry said in a statement issued before German prosecutors revealed the new development, according to Sky News. “Whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace.”

Madeleine’s McCann’s Siblings Are All Grown Up

Madeleine was the proud big sister to twins Amelie and Sean who were just 2 years old when she was taken away from her family. Today, her siblings are 15 years old and attend Catholic secondary school in their hometown of Loughborough in Leicestershire. Both Amelie and Sean are involved in athletics and competed in triathlons and cross country racing.

“They have their own friends and they keep busy and they’re really sporty but their only wish is for their big sister to come home,” Kate previously told The Sun, adding they have “grown up” without knowing their sister.

The twins were asleep during their sister’s abduction, according to the Netflix documentary, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. They even slept through the mayhem that transpired after their mother discovered Madeleine was missing. Many have speculated the twins were sedated by Madeleine’s abductor despite the lack of physical evidence.

We hope the McCann family will be able to find more answers following the latest development in Madeleine’s case.

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