The parents of Madeleine McCann have said they are “incredibly grateful” after the Home Office agreed to extend the police search for their missing daughter for six more months.
The Government will give another £85,000 for operational costs to continue the Scotland Yard inquiry into the nearly decade-long mystery.
Police and the family refused to comment on reports detectives have one remaining suspect they are hoping to track down to crack the three-year-old’s disappearance.
Last year, the then head of Scotland Yard suggested the long-running inquiry would be wound up in a matter of months.
Madeleine vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz in May 2007 while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant. She would now be aged 13, nearly 14.
Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for her parents, said: “Kate and Gerry remain incredibly grateful to the Home Office and the Met Police for the continued work into the search for their daughter.”
He added: “But, like the police, they will not be commenting on any operational details.”
The Home Office said the Metropolitan Police had applied for special funding and the money would keep their hunt, known as Operation Grange, running from 1 April until September 2017.
Portuguese police initially investigated the disappearance, but Scotland Yard set up its own inquiry in 2011 and Operation Grange has since cost £11.1m.
A source close to the family, from Rothley, Leics, said: “They have never given up hope of finding out what happened to Madeleine, and still believe she could be alive. They appreciate everything the police are doing to get a resolution after all this time.”
The extra funding has approved by Prime Minister Teresa May, who met the McCann’s several times in her former role as Home Secretary.
The team of detectives searching for Madeleine was in September 2015 cut from 29 to four.
Sir Bernard Hogan Howe said nearly a year ago that police had one more line of inquiry to close.
He said: "There's been a lot of investigation time spent on this terrible case.
"It's a child who went missing, everybody wants to know if she is alive and if she is where is she, and sadly if she's dead then we need to give some comfort to the family.
"It's needed us to carry out an investigation together with the Portuguese and other countries have been involved.
"There is a line of inquiry that remains to be concluded and it's expected that in the coming months that will happen."
Dozens of theories about Madeleine’s disappearance have been explored, including the possibilities she was abducted by a paedophile, killed during a bungled burglary, abducted by traffickers or killed in an accident when she wondered out of the apartment.
As yet the case apparently remains a complete mystery however.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Following an application from the Metropolitan Police for Special Grant funding, the Home Office has confirmed £85,000 in operational costs for Operation Grange for the period 1 April until September 2017.
"As with all applications, the resources required are reviewed regularly and careful consideration is given before any new funding is allocated.”