Madeleine McCann’s parents welcome the news that Portuguese authorities have declared a German man a formal suspect in her disappearance.
In a message published on the official Find Madeleine campaign Facebook page on Friday, Kate and Gerry McCann wrote: “Although the likelihood is slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive and that we are with her be reunited.”
It comes a day after convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 44, was declared an official suspect by Portuguese authorities.
Prosecutors in the Algarve city of Faro released a statement which, according to a translation, said one person had been made an ‘arguido’, which translates to ‘named suspect’ or ‘formal suspect’.
The statement did not identify Brueckner by name, but said the person had been declared an “arguido” by German authorities at the request of Portuguese prosecutors.
Kate and Gerry McCann also wrote: “We welcome the news that the Portuguese authorities have declared a German ‘arguido’ in connection with the disappearance of our beloved daughter Madeleine.
“This reflects the progress of the investigation being carried out by the Portuguese, German and British authorities.
“We will be kept informed of developments by the Metropolitan Police.
“It is important to note that the ‘arguido’ has not yet been charged with any specific crime in connection with Madeleine’s disappearance.”
Brückner was identified as a murder suspect by German prosecutors in June 2020, but he has not been charged since.
Jim Gamble, the former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (Ceop) who worked on the investigation into the child’s disappearance, told BBC Breakfast: “Well, this breakthrough can mean everything or nothing.
“When the Germans started publishing information two years ago, my own gut feeling was that this was the best solution.
“You have closeness, you have opportunity, and you have a profile on an abuser that absolutely fits like no other has.”
He added: “It’s all positive.
“And from my own position, and I wouldn’t be surprised if charges followed.”
The move by Portuguese authorities could allow Brueckner, who is being held in Germany, to be transferred to the Algarve for formal questioning.
The German newspaper Bild reported that Brückner’s lawyer Friedrich Fuelscher said the Portuguese decision appeared to be a “procedural trick”.
The move could reportedly be linked to the country’s statute of limitations, which generally does not allow crimes carrying a maximum penalty to be prosecuted more than 15 years after they were committed.
This would mean that Brueckner could not be charged in Portugal after May 3.
Brueckner, referred to as Christian B in Germany due to the country’s strict data protection laws, was found guilty in 2019 of the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old US woman in Praia da Luz and sentenced to seven years in prison by the district court of Braunschweig, Lower Saxony.
A federal court in Karlsruhe, a city in south-west Germany, dismissed an appeal against the conviction in November 2020.
Under Portuguese law, an arguido status can be a preliminary step before an arrest or charge is made.
The Metropolitan Police are continuing to treat Madeleine’s disappearance as a missing person investigation. She was three years old when she disappeared in May 2007.
https://www.independent.ie/news/madeleine-mccanns-parents-welcome-declaration-of-formal-suspect-41579333.html Madeleine McCann’s parents ‘welcome’ formal suspect declaration