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“We are sure he is the murderer of Madeleine McCann,” a German prosecutor said of their suspect, Christian Brückner, on the 15th anniversary of the British toddler’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 launched a cross-country investigation and resulted in an international media frenzy.
Hans Christian Wolters, the German prosecutor investigating the case, said on Tuesday that “new evidence” has been unearthed connecting Brückner to Madeleine’s abduction. Brückner is a convicted rapist but he has yet to be charged in this case. He lived in the Praia da Luz area from 1995 to 2007.
Brückner 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 on drug charges.
“The investigation is still going, and I think we found some new facts, some new evidence, not forensic evidences, but some evidence,” Wolters told Portuguese broadcaster CMTV. He did not get into specifics about the new evidence or what it indicated.
Last month, Portuguese police identified German-native Christian Brückner as an “arguido,” translated to “named suspect” or “formal suspect.”
It was the first time a formal suspect had been named in the McCann case since Madeleine’s parents were declared such in 2007. They were 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 asleep in their bedroom on the evening she disappeared.
On April 22, the parents said they “welcomed” the news of new suspect being named.
“Even though the possibility may be slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive and we will be reunited with her,” Kate and Gerry wrote on their website.
Brückner, 45, has previously denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance. He claimed he was with his then-girlfriend on the night in question but Wolters told CMTV that he actually has “no alibi.”
Wolters was asked if investigators have found any of Madeleine’s belongings in Brückner’s van, but Wolters stated he couldn’t provide any details. He added, however, “I don’t want to deny it.”
Wolters is additionally investigating Brückner for three cases of rape and two cases of child molestation, according to The Guardian. The most recent alleged crime occurred in 2017 in which Brückner is accused of exposing himself and masturbating in front of a group of children.
In June 2020, German police said that Madeleine is assumed dead but British authorities continue to treat her disappearance as a missing person case. If alive, Madeleine would be 18 years old.
— With files from Global News’ Sarah Do Couto
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