Money set aside to fund the search for a British toddler who disappeared more than a decade ago during a family vacation to Portugal.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, Madeleine McCann’s parents are due in court over coming weeks as part of an ongoing lawsuit involving a former detective who has publicly claimed they are responsible for their daughter’s death.
Goncarlo Amaral penned the book “The Truth About The Lie,” in which he argued that Gerry and Kate McCann staged a cover-up of Madeleine’s death.
Though the parents initially won a libel suit against him, it was later overturned and he opted to sue them for compensation and suffering.
One source spoke on behalf of the couple in a statement to the U.K. Sun.
“It seems you can say anything you like about someone in Portugal, no matter how awful, and get away with it,” the source said. “If the European Court rules against them the trustees will decide on how best to make any payments. It would be a blow but Kate and Gerry would keep their heads up and carry on searching.”
Some in the law enforcement community regret the direction the search for Madeleine McCann has taken.
“There is every reason to believe she may be alive,” said Mick Neville, a retired detective who investigated the disappearance.
He called it “tragic that funds to try to find her could be lost because of this legal action.”
The Daily Mail indicated that the McCanns could be forced to pay the equivalent of nearly $1 million to Amaral, which would exhaust the fund that currently exists to aid in the ongoing search for their daughter. Reports suggest they have already dipped into the stash to pay previous court-related expenses.
Their attorney in Portugal called their upcoming court appearance a “final appeal” on the grounds of “the violation of my clients’ fundamental rights.”