He’s still holding on to hope. It’s been 11 years since the disappearance of UK toddler Madeleine McCann, but her father Gerry still believes that his little girl is still alive somewhere out there. In a new interview with BBC 4, the surgeon said that he feels “confident” that his baby girl isn’t gone yet.

“I thought about it a lot early on and what I was absolutely confident about is whatever had happened, Madeleine was still alive and is still alive,” the 52-year-old said. “That we could cope and she would be in the right place, that’s how I felt about it. And I have thought about it recently and I just want to hug her, and hold her, and cry a lot. How I would deal with that situation as it arose, I have thought at various points what it would mean.”

madeliene mccann
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The father-of-three — he also shares twin daughters with his wife Kate McCann — went on to relive the moments following the horrifying moment that he and his wife found out that their three-year-old daughter was missing. On May 3, 2007, Madeleine disappeared from her bed at the vacation apartment that her parents were renting during a trip to Portugal. Madeleine and her sisters slept in the apartment while Kate and Gerry had dinner at a restaurant about 180 feet away. They realized Madeleine was missing when they went back to the apartment to check on the girls.

“I think I remember just being in the bedroom distraught, the two of us,” Gerry recalled. “Just completely distraught. I was almost feral, the reaction and the pain, feeling helpless, alone, alone together but it [was] just the most painful realization and I couldn’t get the darkest thoughts out of our minds that somebody had taken her and abused her. “

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