Suspect Formally Named in the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann Nearly 15 Years Later | PEOPLE 417 views Apr 23, 2022 A suspect has formally been named in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, a young British girl who disappeared almost 15 years ago while on vacation with her family in Portugal.
Portuguese prosecutors said there was an official suspect in the case in a statement on Thursday, according to Reuters.
A German man has been declared an official suspect by Portuguese prosecutors investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Christian Brueckner, 45, has been made an "arguido", but Portuguese authorities have not formally revealed the suspect's name.
In 2020 German police announced they were investigating him in connection with Madeleine's disappearance.
Brueckner has not been charged and denies any involvement in the case.
German authorities informed him he was a suspect, at the request of Portuguese prosecutors in Faro.
Three-year-old Madeleine disappeared during a family holiday in Praia da Luz in 2007.
On Thursday, a statement was issued by prosecutors in Faro, Algarve's main city, who said a person was made an "arguido" - which translates as "named suspect", "formal suspect" or "person of interest" - a day earlier.
On 3 May it will be 15 years since Madeleine was reported missing and under Portuguese law it would no longer be possible to declare someone a person of interest beyond this date. Declaring someone a person of interest is a necessary step to any criminal charges.
In its statement, though, Portugal's office of public prosecutions said the move was not driven by timing, but by "strong indications" of the practice of a crime.
He is currently serving a prison sentence for drug offences in Germany and was also given a seven-year term for raping a 72-year-old woman.
The Metropolitan Police continue to treat Madeleine's disappearance as a missing persons inquiry.
The Madeleine McCann case has been out of the news in Portugal for some time, and in the last few years almost all developments have emerged from the prosecutor's office in Germany.
This latest news has been widely reported, though in some cases not very prominently and with few details.
Virtually everyone in Portugal knows about the case, though, with many having for months if not years followed the ins and outs. Not only the various criminal investigations, but the civil case in which Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann sued - ultimately unsuccessfully - the former lead detective on the case, Gonçalo Amaral, after he published a book about it.
He had already attracted a lot of criticism, particularly from British tabloids, which raised some hackles in Portugal, since the Judicial Police, or PJ, is in fact one of the country's most respected institutions.
It's not clear whether or when the Portuguese authorities might charge this or any other suspect in the case.
While there are legal deadlines, the pandemic could be grounds for the courts to rule that more time is allowed.
Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, was on holiday with her family at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz when she disappeared on 3 May 2007.
Madeleine's whereabouts remains unknown, despite her disappearance being the most heavily reported missing person case. She is due to turn 19 years of age in May this year.
Her case has been the subject of multiple documentaries, including a Netflix series which was criticised by her parents.
Jim Gamble, a former police officer who led a 2010 review of the case commissioned by the Home Office, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the case against Brueckner was strong.
He said: "This seems like a really strong case and that's why I don't think it is a procedural tick in a box to make sure they don't miss out because of the statute of limitations.
"I think there's been a growing case and we should not underestimate the confidence of the German police."
The child protection expert claimed a phone attributed to the convicted rapist placed him in the area within a 30-minute window. He also said Brueckner had burgled holiday homes in the area and had children's clothes in his camper van.
He continued: "I think the circumstantial evidence that I know exists is extremely strong… I wouldn't be surprised if charges follow."
Brueckner denies any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.
Mr Gamble added: "It would just be fantastic to be able to give the McCanns peace of mind so far as knowing exactly what happened."
Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has spoken for the first time about the case and lashes out at claims he was involved, in a letter seen exclusively by MailOnline.
In the five pages Brueckner, 45, who was sensationally named as the man responsible for Madeleine's abduction describes himself as 'the most known bad person in the world'.
The convicted rapist, who was made an 'arguido' or official suspect in the case earlier this week stressed he was 'not there at the time and that he wasn't living close to the place'.
Madeleine vanished from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007 where she was on holiday with her parents Kate and Gerry and siblings.
Brueckner, who has been linked to four other child murders across Europe since 1996, was sensationally named by German prosecutors as the man 'responsible' for Madeleine's kidnap and murder in June 2020.
On Thursday, the child sex offender was handed a document in prison informing him he was being made an 'arguido' by Portuguese prosecutors.
German detectives interviewed Brueckner at Oldenburg jail, where he is serving a rape sentence.
Brueckner said in the letter: 'Welcome to the biggest adventure you can imagine.
'I'm the most-known bad person in the world and I did nothing - well almost nothing.'
He added: 'I wasn't kidnapping anybody and of course I wasn't killing anybody.
'I'll go further, I'll tell you I wasn't attacking anybody after I was 18.
'I made some silly mistakes when I was younger but who hasn't?'
Then referring to the McCann case Brueckner said: 'Perhaps I was a suspect after all they found out about me.
'Drug dealer, breaking into houses, living in cars and there was something with kids when I was 17.
'But they had (sic) not even one proof that I was involved with the McCann case. And they still don't have it.
'I know why. Because they have no hairs or anything from Maddie what means (sic) that nobody can put anything like that into my stuff to find it.
'The idea behind that all perhaps was to make the BKA (German police) and German prosecutor famous as well known all over the world as the smartest organisation ever.'