A German man has been declared an official suspect by Portuguese prosecutors investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the BBC reports.
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. She has never been found and investigators believe she was abducted from the holiday apartment where the family was staying in the Algarve resort.
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 May 3, it will be 15 years since Madeleine was reported missing. 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 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.
Brueckner is serving a prison sentence for drug offences in Germany, and was 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.