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“We are sure he is the killer of Madeleine McCann,” a German prosecutor said of Christian Brueckner, his suspect, on the 15th anniversary of the British child’s disappearance.
On May 3, 2007, three-year-old Madeleine went missing from a hotel room in Praia da Luz, Portugal, while on vacation with her parents. Her disappearance triggered a cross-country investigation and resulted in an international media frenzy.
Timeline of Events: The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, probing the case, said on Tuesday that “new evidence” linking Brueckner to Madeleine’s kidnapping had been discovered. Brueckner is a convicted rapist but has not yet been charged in the case. He lived in Praia da Luz area from 1995 to 2007.
Brueckner is serving a seven-year prison sentence for raping a 72-year-old woman in 2005, in the same area where Madeleine went missing. He has also been convicted of drug charges.
“The investigation is still going on, and I think we found some new facts, some new evidence, not forensic evidence, but some evidence,” Wolters told Portuguese broadcaster CMTV. He did not elaborate on the new evidence or what it suggests.
Last month, Portuguese police identified German-born Christian Brueckner as “Argido”, which translates as “designated suspect” or “formal suspect”.
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It was the first formal suspect named in the McCann case since Madeleine’s parents were declared as such in 2007. He was later cleared of suspicion in 2008. Kate and Gerry McCann were dining with friends at a nearby tapas bar leaving Madeleine and her two siblings sleeping in their bedroom in the evening and she disappeared.
On April 22, the parents said they “welcomed” the news of the new suspect’s name.
“While the chances may be slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive and that we will reunite with her,” Kate and Gerry wrote on their website.
Brueckner, 45, has previously denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance. He claimed he was with his then-girlfriend that night, but Wolters told CMTV that they really had “no excuse.”
Wolters was asked whether investigators found any of Madeleine’s belongings in Brueckner’s van, but Wolters said he could not provide any details. He added, however, “I don’t want to deny it.”
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According to The Guardian, Walters is additionally investigating Brueckner for three counts of rape and two counts of child molestation. The most recent alleged crime occurred in 2017 in which Brueckner is accused of exposing himself to a group of children and masturbating.
In June 2020, German police said Madeleine had been presumed dead, but British authorities were treating her disappearance as a missing persons case. Had she been alive, Madeleine would be 18 years old.
Madeleine McCann presumed dead by German authorities
— With files from Global News ‘Sara Du Couto’
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