Madeleine McCann police issue update after German man officially names suspect – World News


The case of the missing Madeleine McCann has taken a step forward after Portuguese prosecutors upheld their decision to make Christian Brueckner an official suspect in her disappearance.

On Thursday, it emerged that the 44-year-old had been declared “arguido” in the first formal statement on the decision.

The unexpected move is believed to be linked to statute of limitations legislation in Portugal, which could have prevented a successful prosecution of Brueckner in the country earlier this year.

Serious criminals such as murderers and kidnappers can generally no longer be prosecuted in Portugal after 15 years.

Brueckner, also known as Christian B, is in prison in Germany after being convicted of raping a 72-year-old woman in 2005 in the same town where Maddie disappeared.

Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007



The toddler was staying at a resort in Praia da Luz



Maddie was three when, two years later, on May 3, 2007, she stayed at the family’s rented holiday home in Praia da Luz.

The 15th anniversary of Maddie’s disappearance in the Algarve had already been identified by Portuguese lawyers as a key date in the unsolved mystery.

On Thursday evening, Portuguese sources said Brueckner had been briefed on his new “arguido” status at Oldenburg prison in northern Germany, where he is serving seven years for raping the American pensioner in 2005.

It gives Portuguese authorities the opportunity to charge him later, effectively “stopping” the time limit for filing charges if German prosecutors decide they do not have enough evidence to charge the pedophile they see as their prime suspect.

The Faro Crime Investigation and Prosecutor’s Office (DIAP) issued a written statement on Thursday entitled “Case Maddie. Constitution of an Arguido”.

It said: “In the course of the investigation into the circumstances of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007, a person was declared an arguido on Wednesday.

Christian Brueckner is now a formal suspect in Maddie’s disappearance


Carabinieri Milano via Getty Images)

Police “sighted with sniffer dogs near Christian Brueckner’s old house”



“The man was declared an arguido by the German authorities in response to a request from the Portuguese prosecutor for international judicial cooperation.

“The investigation is being led by the Portimao Section of the DIAP in Faro, with the support of the Policia Judiciaria.

“The investigation was carried out in cooperation with the English and German authorities.”

The country’s PJ Police have yet to make an official statement.

Portuguese sources said the legal reasons for making Brueckner an Arguido include the fact that he allegedly confessed to a friend that he had kidnapped Maddie, and cell phone recordings him the night she disappeared when her parents were in the Ate tapas nearby, placed in Praia da Luz.

The German drifter lived in the Algarve for several years and was serving a nine-month prison sentence in the Algarve for stealing petrol, five months before the British youngster disappeared.

Kate (L) and Gerry (R) McCann have helped raise millions of pounds to find their daughter


AFP via Getty Images)

He remained silent after being told he was now a formal suspect in Portugal.

Fears the opportunity to do justice to Maddie and her parents could hit a hammer in two weeks, despite an ongoing Portuguese probe into the unsolved crime.

Madeleine McCann’s family lawyer Rogerio Alves warned in 2020 about Portugal’s 15-year curb on prosecutions.

He explained that this meant he had less than two years to act against Brueckner, whom German authorities were treating as their prime suspect.

And Portuguese legal experts admitted earlier this month that the likelihood of putting someone behind bars over Madeleine’s disappearance will be “greatly reduced” after the day Kate and Gerry McCann remember their eldest daughter exactly a decade and a half after the Christmas mystery would.

Attorney Spencer Dohner of MDM Legal said at the time ahead of the latest development in the case: “I think the most likely scenario with the information we have right now is that everything falls after 15 years.

“Portugal has a statute of limitations, which means that the perpetrators of crimes punishable by a maximum penalty of more than 10 years can usually no longer be prosecuted after 15 years.

Madeleine McCann was three years old when she disappeared while on a family holiday in Portugal



“Of course, this means that the possibility of prosecuting Madeleine McCann in Portugal after May 3 this year could be ended.

“If she were found alive and a victim of sex crimes as a minor, a trial could take place until she is 23 years old.

“But if Madeleine is dead, as German authorities believe, and murdered around the time of her disappearance in Portugal, the cut-off date for prosecutions would under normal circumstances be the 15th anniversary of her disappearance, barring technical issues that may stop time could border like the covid pandemic.

“There are some arguments that could be debated but my perception and understanding of the law is it’s 15 years and that’s it.

“If we had a situation where a body was found and we had reason to believe it was murder and the authorities here had a person to accuse them, we would have a 15 year grace period.”

Another Lisbon-based lawyer, who asked not to be named, added: “Police and prosecutors in Portugal will be aware of the time constraints on the Maddie case.

“Our statute of limitations brings with it the likelihood that the person responsible for her disappearance will never be brought to justice within weeks in the country where she disappeared, even with an arrest and a confession.”

The decision to make Brueckner an Arguido in Portugal came as a surprise because sources close to the case said a fortnight ago they thought he was “highly unlikely”.

Portugal’s Attorney General agreed to reopen the investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance in October 2013, more than five years after it was archived, following a formal request from the Policia Judiciaria.

PJ chief Helena Monteiro is still leading an ongoing investigation into the Portuguese police force in the northern city of Porto.

In October 2013, she was interviewing the widow of a former worker at the tourist complex where Maddie’s parents were staying when she disappeared.

Serial thief Euclides Lopes Monteiro, who died in a tractor accident in August 2009, has never been publicly ruled out as a suspect, although his family has urged police to confirm his innocence.

Late last year it was reported that Brueckner would be charged in Germany this year with three separate sex crimes, including the 2004 rape of an Irish woman in the Algarve.

It turns out that in June 2020, police tracked down the prime suspect in Maddie’s case after he told a pal in a pub, “I kidnapped her.”

He is said to have confessed to kidnapping the teenager while she was sitting in a German bar on the 10th anniversary of her kidnapping.

He and a pal reportedly saw a TV news report on the case in 2017, when he said he knew what happened to her.

He is also said to have boasted that he “caught” her.

Portuguese authorities had earlier this month insisted they were continuing to investigate Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, despite reports that Scotland Yard was planning to end its investigation into Operation Grange after 11 years.

A spokesman for Portugal’s Attorney General’s Office, asked about the future of the inquiry, which was being led by a prosecutor in the Algarve resort of Portimao, said: “The investigation is ongoing with the investigation being ongoing.”

Portuguese police sources also said the completion of their long-running cold case review was “completely out of the question”.

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