Suspect Named In Missing Toddler Case Gripping Multiple Countries After 15 Years

REUTERS/Hugo Correia

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Prosecutors in Portugal said a man has been formally declared a suspect in the Madeleine McCann case almost 15 years since she went missing.

In 2020, German police announced that Christian Brueckner, a convicted sex offender, was under investigation for undisclosed connections to the 2007 disappearance of then-three-year-old McCann, BBC News reported Friday. Brueckner has reportedly denied any involvement in the case. He is currently serving prison time for raping a 72-year-old woman at the same Portuguese resort where McCann disappeared, according to the New York Post.

Court documents said Brueckner lived in the region between 1995 and 2007 and stole from hotels and vacation apartments, according to CNN. He had also been convicted of sexually abusing children in the Lower-Saxony region of Germany, a 2020 statement from German state prosecutors noted, CNN continued. (RELATED: US Marshals Say They Rescued 16 Missing Children, Some In Suspected Sex Trafficking Ring)

McCann went missing from her hotel room in the resort of Praia de Luz in Portugal’s Algarve region in 2007 while vacationing with her British family, CNN reported. Her parents left her and her two siblings sleeping in the holiday apartment while they dined at a nearby restaurant with friends, the NY Post reported.

Both the McCanns parents and friends went back to regularly check on their children, the report noted. When McCann’s mother went to check on the children around 10 p.m, she found the door and window to their bedrooms open and Madeleine missing, according to the outlet.

Despite British, German, Portuguese and other European authorities’ involvement, McCann has never been seen nor found, and no one has ever been charged in relation to her disappearance, CNN reported.