The parents of missing Madeleine McCann have denied receiving a letter from German police suggesting that she is dead.
Kate and Gerry McCann posted a statement on the Find Madeleine website to say media reports of the correspondence had caused “unnecessary anxiety to friends and family and once again disrupted our lives”.
The statement read: “Since the recent police appeals regarding Madeleine’s disappearance there have been many inaccurate stories reported in the media.
“The widely reported news that we have a received a letter from the German authorities that states there is evidence or proof that Madeleine is dead is false.
“Like many unsubstantiated stories in the media, this has caused unnecessary anxiety to friends and family and once again disrupted our lives.
“As we have stated many times before, we will not give a running commentary on the investigation – that is the job of the law enforcement agencies and we will support them in any way requested.
“Furthermore, we do not have a family spokesperson nor are we actively paying any lawyers.
“Any recent comments attributed in the media have not come from us unless they have been posted on our website.
“If there are important developments that can be made public, they will be issued through official police channels.”
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the investigation into the main suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance, told the PA news agency that a letter had been written to the couple but would not reveal what it said.
However, according to The Sun newspaper he said: “We have written to the McCanns to tell them Madeleine is dead and explaining we just cannot say what the evidence is.
“We have concrete evidence that our suspect has killed Madeleine.
“British police have been informed but don’t have all the evidence we have.
“The results of our investigation have been shared but not every detail has been passed to Scotland Yard.
“I don’t think the McCanns have been informed of all the details but they know the results.”
German investigators believe a known 43-year-old man killed Madeleine soon after abducting her from a holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007.
He is in jail in Germany for drug dealing, and is appealing against a conviction for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old woman, also at Praia da Luz.
He has not yet spoken to investigators, who say they are convinced that he has committed other sex attacks.