Politics

German man Christian Brueckner declared formal suspect after push from Portugal


German convicted rapist Christian Brueckner has been declared a formal suspect in connection with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

A Portuguese prosecutor’s office today said it had declared an unnamed German man as a formal suspect, also known as an arguido.

9News understand the push to declare Brueckner an arguido was made at Portugal’s request as a 15-year limit on prosecutions was due to expire.

British girl Madeleine McCann vanished from the resort town of Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, while on holiday with her family.
British girl Madeleine McCann vanished from the resort town of Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, while on holiday with her family. (AAP)

In its announcement, the Faro public prosecutor’s office said the investigation is being run with the help of police and with the cooperation of English and German authorities.

It’s the first time Portuguese prosecutors have named a formal suspect since Madeleine’s parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, were named and investigated in 2007.

Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of the missing girl Madeleine McCann, talk to the press in May 2007 after attending a church service in Praia da Luz.
Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of the missing girl Madeleine McCann, talk to the press in May 2007 after attending a church service in Praia da Luz. (AAP)
A pink balloon outside apartment 5A on Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva in Praia Da Luz, Portugal, where Madeline McCann went missing.
A pink balloon outside apartment 5A on Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva in Praia Da Luz, Portugal, where Madeline McCann went missing. (AAP)

In 2020, German police revealed they were investigating Brueckner, who was already in prison on an unrelated rape charge, as an official suspect.

Christian Brueckner, a suspect in the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann
Christian Brueckner, a suspect in the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann. (Supplied)

Madeleine disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, a resort in Portugal, on May 3 in 2007, days before her fourth birthday.

Despite an investigation spanning nearly 15 years, no charges against a suspect have ever been laid.

It comes after reports the long-running, multi-million-dollar British police operation to find out what happened to the girl was on the brink of shutting down.
British girl Madeleine McCann before she went missing from a Portuguese holiday complex in May 2007.
Madeleine McCann was days away from turning four when she vanished. (AAP)
Kate McCann, the mother of missing British girl Madeleine McCann, arrives at the police station in Portimao, southern Portugal, to be questioned in September 2007.
Kate McCann, the mother of missing British girl Madeleine McCann, arrives at the police station in Portimao, southern Portugal, to be questioned in September 2007. (AAP)

“It’s huge. This is probably the biggest missing persons case ever worldwide,” forensic criminologist Xanthe Mallet told Today this morning.

“Everybody knows the name Madeleine McCann.

“But even a couple of weeks ago when police in Britain said they were scaling back the investigation, I wasn’t convinced that meant they didn’t have any new leads given what the German police had told us a couple of years ago.

“I was still hopeful. This is a massive, massive day.”



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