LONDON, England -- The parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann are suing a Portuguese newspaper which reported that police believed the couple killed their own daughter, according to The Press Association.
Gerry and Kate McCann, parents of missing Madeleine, at a news conference
The Oporto-based Tal & Qual published two articles last Friday saying "police believe" Kate and Gerry McCann were responsible for the death of the four-year-old, and put forward the theories that she was killed either in an accident or with a fatal dose of a drug.
"The McCanns feel these allegations are very serious and highly damaging," a spokesman for the family said.
"The straightforward facts are Madeleine was taken from her bed on May 3 and she is still missing.
"Police have said time and again that Kate and Gerry McCann are not suspects."
The spokesman said the McCanns felt that the allegations were "a distraction from the investigation."
Madeleine disappeared on May 3 from her bed in a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal while her parents were eating with friends at a nearby restaurant.
Madeleine's parents have campaigned internationally to secure the safe return of their daughter, including having a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and securing support from soccer star David Beckham.
On Thursday she was due to start her first day of school in Thurmaston, in the central English county of Leicestershire. A place set aside for her in hope of her return remained empty.
In his latest blog on the Find Madeleine Web site, McCann said: "It has been hard not to imagine how excited she would have been and how she would have looked in her school uniform.
"We would like to wish all the new pupils much happiness and we hope and pray that Madeleine will be able to join her fellow classmates soon." E-mail to a friend