Madeleine McCann: ‘new evidence’ linked to suspect found, prosecutor says

Fresh evidence has been found against the prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, a German prosecutor has revealed.

Hans Christian Wolters said in an interview on Portuguese television that investigators believed they had found “some facts, some new evidence, not forensic evidence.”

Officials in Faro, Portugal, said last week that Christian Brückner, 44, a convicted rapist, was an arguido, or formal suspect – the first time Portuguese authorities have officially identified a suspect in the case since Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were declared such in 2007. They were formally cleared of suspicion in 2008.

Brückner has previously denied any involvement in three-year-old Madeleine’s disappearance.

Wolters, who has been investigating Brückner since 2020 over the Madeleine case and other alleged offences, was asked in the TV interview whether it was true that German investigators had found something belonging to Madeleine in a caravan used by Brückner. “You can’t deny it, can you?” the CMTV interviewer asked.

Wolters replied: “I don’t want to deny it.”

He added: “We are sure that he is the murderer of Madeleine McCann. We are sure that he killed Madeleine McCann. The investigation is still going on and I think we found some new facts, some new evidence – not forensic evidence, but evidence.”

Speaking on the eve of the 15th anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance on 3 May 2007, Kate and Gerry McCann said a “horrific crime” had been committed and they were still seeking answers.

They said in a statement: “This year we mark 15 years since we last saw Madeleine. It feels no harder than any other but no easier either. It’s a very long time. Many people talk about the need for closure. It’s always felt a strange term.

“Regardless of outcome, Madeleine will always be our daughter and a truly horrific crime has been committed. These things will remain.”

Last week, the couple said they welcomed the news that the Portuguese authorities had declared an arguido. They said: “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.”

German police said in June 2020 that Madeleine was assumed dead and that Brückner was probably responsible for her disappearance. However, British officers continue to treat it as a missing persons case. Germany, unlike Portugal, does not have a statute of limitations for murder.

Wolters, the state prosecutor in Braunschweig, is investigating Brückner for five separate alleged offences. They include three cases of rape and two cases of child molestation, the most recent in 2017 when Brückner is alleged to have exposed himself and masturbated in front of a group of children.