The parents of the missing British four-year-old Madeleine McCann say they are still convinced their daughter is alive, even though Portugese police are now said to be analysing traces of blood found in their holiday apartment. Several Portugese newspapers, quoting off-the-record police sources, say the investigation is now focussed on the possibility that Madeleine died in the apartment. The Correio da Manha newspaper is reporting that specialist sniffer dogs from Britain have found specks of blood which could only have come from a body which had been dead for several hours. Forensic tests are now being carried out to see if the blood matches Madeleine’s DNA. Speaking today, neither Kate nor Gerry McCann commented on the press reports. They have always said they put their three children to bed and checked on them every 30 minutes before finding Madeleine gone: “Kate and I strongly believe that Madeleine was alive when she was taken from the apartment,” said Gerry McCann. “Obviously we don’t know what happened to her afterwards, who has taken her or what their motive was.” The Jornal de Noticias newspaper quoted police sources as saying someone had tried to clean up the blood. The Portugese police have refused to confirm or deny the newspaper reports.