Madeleine McCann: Prosecutors probe link between suspect and missing German girl

Brenda Watkins
June 6, 2020

Authorities are still actively investigating his connection to McCann, though prosecutors noted they believe the girl has been murdered.

Prosecutors in the northern town of Stendal, 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Berlin, told the dpa news agency Friday they had opened a preliminary investigation to determine whether there was anything to link the suspect to the 2015 disappearance of a 5-year-old girl from a nearby forest.

McCann's parents were initially considered suspects when she disappeared in 2007, and cleared by Portuguese police the following year.

On Thursday, the State Prosecutor's Office spokesman Hans Christian Wolters told CNN his office assumes McCann is dead. He is now serving multi-year sentence in prison for offenses unrelated to the McCann case.

Moving forward, British police have indicated that Brückner is now the main focus of the investigation as they work "to prove or disprove his involvement". He said whoever abducted the girl may have broken into the holiday apartment and then spontaneously committed the kidnapping.

It was a year after that he became a suspect in the Madeleine case after police were tipped off by a man who claimed Christian B had indicated he was responsible for her abduction.

At the time Madeleine disappeared the suspect was, police believe, living in a white VW Westfalia camper van with yellow skirting. "A report came on the TV and he said something to suggest that he knew what happened", Sky News reported. Video of the rape led to an investigation that previous year meant he was convicted of the rape of a tourist on the Algarve in around 2005. This in turn brought him onto the police radar.

German police said he lived in Algarve, southern Portugal, between 1995 and 2007, dealing drugs and burgling flats.

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A view of the block of apartments from where British girl Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007, in Praia da Luz, in Portugal's Algarve coast.

Meanwhile, Irish tourists who holidayed in the Algarve in 2007 and who may remember a distinctive Volkswagen camper van and Jaguar vehicle have been urged to contact police. There are 17 crimes listed on his criminal record, according to Der Spiegel, and a local newspaper Braunschweiger Zeitung said he had been deported to Germany in 2017 on an European warrant for his arrest on a different crime.

According to The Guardian UK, he was a minor when he was convicted of child sexual abuse in 1994.

Yesterday, German and British police appealed for information about the 43-year-old suspect, a convicted pedophile who is now in a German prison serving a sentence for sexual offences. In 2014, he was also convicted for assault. One, +351 912 730 680, was used by the suspect and was called by someone from another number, +351 916 510 683, on the night of Madeleine's disappearance at 7.32pm for a conversation that ended just over an hour before she went missing.

"They certainly will be encouraged to know the appeal is yielding results already and hopefully within that there will be crucial bits of information the police can act upon". He allegedly tied the woman up and gagged her, raped her in her bedroom and forced her to hand over cash.

But there is also an ongoing case against him for rape.

The spokesperson for Madeleine McCann's family spoke to Nick Ferrari.

In 2008, Alipio Ribeiro, the Portuguese police chief who was widely criticized for his handling of the case, resigned.

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