After 15 Years, a Formal Suspect Has Finally Been Named in the Madeleine McCann Case

Madeleine McCann

Portuguese authorities have formally identified a suspect in one of the world’s most confounding and enduring mysteries: the disappearance of the British toddler Madeleine McCann.

This is the first time an official suspect outside of the family has been named in the case of the three-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom in Praia da Luz, Portugal while on holiday with her family in 2007.

Prosecutors in Faro, the Algarve region where Madeleine disappeared, have not publically named the man, however, German publication Bild has reported that German authorities have confirmed the man to be Christian Brueckner.

The Portuguese police formally identified Brueckner at the German authorities’ request. Previously, German police have said that Madeline was assumed to have died and that convicted rapist and child abuser Brueckner was behind it.

Brueckner, 45, has not actually been charged with any crime as of yet and has reportedly denied any involvement. He is currently serving time in jail in Germany for the sexual assault of a woman in Portugal in the same area of the Algarve where Madeline vanished in 2007.

Authorities in Germany searched property belonging to Brueckner in Hanover, Germany, in 2020 and said at the time that they had found “concrete” evidence that their suspect had killed Madeleine.

The young girl was supposedly asleep in a hotel room with her two siblings while her parents dined out with family friends just around the corner. When the parents returned during the meal to check on the children, they found Madeline had vanished. She has not been seen since.

Hundreds of names have been associated with the McCann case over the years, with a worldwide search instigated during the weeks and months following her disappearance. Parents Kate and Gerry McCann were initially named as suspects in 2007 however they were later cleared.

Since then, the police have had very little to go on, with evidence and eyewitness testimony limited. It’s probably the world’s most publicised missing persons case and has spawned countless articles, books, documentaries, and TV shows.

Next month marks 15 years since her disappearance.

German Authorities Say They Have Found New Evidence

Update 04/05/22 

German investigators have revealed that they have found evidence linking their primary suspect to Madeleine. The evidence in question is being reported, speculatively, as “fibres” from the pyjamas Madeleine was wearing on the night she disappeared in a van belonging to their prime suspect, Christian Brueckner.

Speaking last night on Portuguese television, on the 15th anniversary of the British girl’s disappearance, prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said: “We have found new facts and new evidence.

“It’s not forensic evidence but evidence and because of our evidence, we are sure he is the murderer of Madeleine McCann. We are sure he killed Madeleine.”

Brueckner lived in the Algarve region of Portugal, where Madeleine disappeared from, during the mid-90s through to the early 2000s and drove a VW campervan that German authorities appear to have found the fibres in.

Asked during the interview on the show Sabado, “Is it true you did find something belonging to Madeleine in the caravan of Christian B?,” Wolters replied: “I can’t comment on details of the investigation.”

“But you can’t deny it, can you?” the interviewer followed up. Wolters said: “I don’t want to deny it,” later clarifying that it was “because the suspect has not yet been informed.”

Portugal has a statute of limitations on crimes that says that no one can be convicted after 15 years, even if new evidence comes to light. Although that date has now passed, the naming of Brueckner as a suspect two weeks ago gives the Portuguese authorities another seven years to convict him.

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