MADELEINE McCann’s parents have been given fresh hope they will one day find their daughter after a little girl in Russia was reunited with her family after 20 years.
Kate and Gerry McCann vowed never to give up looking for their daughter after the three-year-old vanished while on holiday with her family in Portugal in 2007.
And a close friend revealed how the story of Yulia Gorina – who was last week reunited with her family after disappeared when she was four-years-old in 1999 – has given hope to the McCann family.
They told The Sun Online: “It is happy news like this that keeps them searching and hoping and refusing to never give up.
“This child’s reunion with her family after two decades gives them a boost.
“It is proof that missing kids can still be found after many years and is the heartwarming, happy ending story they dream of too.”
Yulia was almost the same age as little Maddie when she mysteriously anished from a train travelling from the Belarus capital of Minsk 20 years ago as her dad slept.
She somehow ended up more than 550 miles away in Ryazan, in neighbouring Russia, three weeks later, where cops were unable to trace her parents and gave her up for adoption.
But heartwarming photos show her reunited with her family after her new boyfriend Ilya Kryukov, 31, tracked them down with a simple internet search.
Her real mother Lyudmila said: “Twenty years is like a whole life, but we never lost hope, we believed – and so we found each other.”
A DECADE OF PAIN
Madeleine vanished 12 years ago on May 3, 2007, when her family, from Leicestershire, were holidaying in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, Portugal.
Parents Gerry and Kate left their three children – including toddler twins Sean and Amelie – sleeping in their apartment while they dined at a tapas bar – 120 metres away.
When Kate returned to check on the kids at around 10pm that evening, she discovered that Madeleine was not in her bed and was missing.
In September of that year, Gerry and Kate, both doctors, were sensationally named as ‘arguidos’ by Portuguese police.
The following summer the McCanns were cleared by investigators in Portugal who declared they had exhausted all avenues in the case.
Since then, millions of pounds have been poured into Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange to find Maddie.
Just last month, there was hope of a new breakthrough in Maddie’s case as a DNA expert offered to re-test samples.
And the official Find Maddie Campaign website, which is endorsed by Kate and Gerry, recently thanked Brit tourists for taking posters of their daughter on holiday.
MOST READ IN NEWS
At the start of the holiday getaway last month they urged travellers to take downloaded pictures, luggage tags and car stickers, stating: “It could be the poster that brings Madeleine home.”
The fresh appeal came weeks after Britain’s top cop admitted she had no idea if the case would ever be solved.
Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick revealed she could not say if detectives would discover what happened to Maddie despite the lengthy inquiry which has cost the taxpayer £11.75million.
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