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Madeleine McCann suspect identified: Here’s what we know

Kate McCann, whose daughter Madeleine went missing during a family holiday to Portugal in 2007, attends a news conference at the launch of her book in London May 12, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

Madeleine McCann suspect identified: Here’s what we know

A new suspect has been identified in the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Madeleine McCann suspect identified: Here’s what we know

German and UK Police are appealing to the public for any information about the suspect.

German police said they are treating the case as a suspected murder. They do not believe the alleged murder was pre-meditated and said the suspect was involved in crimes like break-ins and burglary.

“We assume that the girl is dead,” Braunschweig state prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said. “The public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig is investigating a 43-year-old German national on suspicion of murder.”

British police are still treating the case as a missing person and described Wednesday’s appeal as a “significant development”.

“There have been significant developments in this investigation and a suspect has been identified,” said senior investigating officer Mark Cranwell.

Here’s what we know about the suspect:

  • He is a 43-year-old man from Germany (aged 30 at the time of the disappearance)
  • He is 6ft in height
  • He is white and had blonde, fair-ish hair
  • He is current imprisoned in Germany and is “serving a long sentence”, according to German prosecutors
  • German prosecutors say he is a “sexual predator who has already been convicted of crimes against little girls”.
  • The man has not been named by police, but German media identified him as Christian B.
  • There are two vehicles linked to him around the time of the disappearance – a Volkswagen camper and a Jaguar.
  • Police know he had those vehicles in the area before Madeleine vanished and afterwards.
  • The day after Madeleine disappeared, the suspect transferred the Jaguar to someone else’s name.
  • Both cars are now in the possession of German police.
  • Police have released two Portuguese phone numbers linked to the suspect. The first, +351 912 730 680, was believed to have been used by the suspect. That number received a 30-minute phone call from the second number, +351 916 510 683, whilst in the Praia da Luz area on the night of the disappearance shortly before McCann was last seen.
  • Police want to speak to anyone who is familiar with the two phone numbers.

With the suspect currently in prison, Detective Chief Inspector Cranwell says if anyone has information, “now is the time to come forward”.

“You may know, you may be aware of some of the things he has done, he may have confided in you about the disappearance of Madeleine,” said Cranwell.

“More than 13 years have passed, and your loyalties may have changed.”

Cranwell said British police do not have definitive evidence regarding whether McCann is alive or not.

McCann was three years old when she went missing in 2007 from a hotel room during a family holiday in Portugal.

Her parents were dining with friends nearby and had left her unattended in the room.

Her fate remains a mystery despite huge international publicity which prompted reported sightings from across the world.

The McCanns have released a statement following the appeal for information from the police, saying: “We would like to thank the police forces involved for their continued efforts in the search for Madeleine.

“All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice.

“We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive, but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace.”

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