It has taken almost 15 years but police have formally named a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Officials in the district of Faro, working with German and English officials, said they are formally accusing a suspect, The Associated Press reported.
The Portuguese officials did not name the man, but German police identified Christian Brueckner, a German citizen, as a suspect in 2020, BBC News reported.
This is the first time a suspect has been named since the girl’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were named suspects in 2007 and eventually cleared, Reuters reported.
While being called an “arguido,” or a formal suspect, Brueckner has not been charged. He also denies any part in her missing person’s case, according to BBC News.
Madeleine was 3 years old when she disappeared in 2007 while on vacation with her family in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Police believe she was kidnapped from the apartment her family was staying in at the Algarve resort.
She has never been found.
German police said in 2020 that they assume she is dead and at the time said Brueckner was likely responsible, Reuters reported.
Brueckner is in prison, serving time for drug offenses. He also has a pending seven-year sentence in connection with the rape of a 72-year-old woman in 2005. That case also happened in Praia da Luz, the AP reported.
Brueckner lived in the area between 1995 and 2007 and was accused of breaking into hotels and vacation apartments, according to court documents uncovered by Reuters in 2020.
Brueckner had been connected to Madeleine’s disappearance as early as 2012 and 2013.
Next month marks the 15th anniversary of her disappearance and that could affect the case as Portugal has a 15-year statute of limitations for crimes that have a maximum prison sentence of 10 years or more, Reuters reported. There’s no word on how that deadline will be in play in the case against Brueckner.
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