Home U.K. Madeleine McCann disappearance breakthrough as police identify German prisoner as suspect

Madeleine McCann disappearance breakthrough as police identify German prisoner as suspect

The Metropolitan Police have not named the 43-year-old man, but he is described as white with short blond hair, possibly fair, and about 6ft tall with a slim build. The suspect, who is a German national, is known to have been in and around the area of Praia da Luz on the Algarve at the time Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007. The youngster was on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and her twin siblings Sean and Amelie.

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Scotland Yard said a 30 minute phone call was made to his Portuguese mobile phone around 60 minutes before Madeleine is believed to have gone missing.

The suspect, currently in jail in Germany for an unrelated matter, has also been linked to a 1980s camper van.

This has a white upper body and yellow skirting and was registered in Portugal. It was pictured in the Algarve the same year Madeleine vanished.

Scotland Yard said he was driving the van in the Praia da Luz area in the days before the youngster’s disappearance.

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Police have identified a new suspect in the search for missing youngster Madeleine McCann (Image: GETTY)

Madeleine McCann disappeared on May 3, 2007 (Image: METROPOLITAN POLICE)

The suspect is believed to have been living in the vehicle for a number of days before and after May 3 – the evening Madeleine vanished.

The male has also been linked to a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 with a German number plate.

This vehicle was also seen in Praia da Luz and surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007.

Just 24 hours after Madeleine went missing, he had the car re-registered in Germany under someone else’s name, but the vehicle was still believed to have been in Portugal.

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Madeleine was on holiday in Portugal with her parents and two siblings (Image: METROPOLITAN POLICE)

Both the van and car have now been seized by police in Germany.

Scotland Yard has launched a joint appeal with the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany (BKA) and the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria (PJ).

Operation Grange is the team of officers leading the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell, who leads Operation Grange, said: “It’s more than 13 years since Madeleine went missing and none of us can imagine what it must be like for her family, not knowing what happened or where she is.

“Following the ten- year anniversary, the Met received information about a German man who was known to have been in and around Praia da Luz. We have been working with colleagues in Germany and Portugal and this man is a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.

“The Met conducted a number of enquiries and in November 2017 engaged with the BKA who agreed to work with the Met.

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The suspect has been linked to this 1980s camper van (Image: METROPOLITAN POLICE)

The new suspect has also been linked to a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 (Image: METROPOLITAN POLICE)

“Since then a huge amount of work has taken place by both the Met, the BKA and the Polícia Judiciária.

“While this male is a suspect we retain an open mind as to his involvement and this remains a missing person inquiry.

“Our job as detectives is to follow the evidence, maintain an open mind and establish what happened on that day in May 2007.

“Please contact us without delay so we can get answers for Madeleine’s family.”

On May 3 2007, Kate and Gerry McCann left their three children asleep in their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in southern Portugal while they had dinner with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.

Mr McCann checked on the youngsters at 9pm and found nothing amiss.

But when his wife Kate returned an hour later at about 10pm, she discovered three-year-old Madeleine was missing.

The frantic parents carried out a rapid search and immediately raised the alarm.

Since Madeleine’s disappearance 13 years ago, Mr and Mrs McCann have vowed to never give up hope of finding their daughter.

They have launched several public appeals and won high-profile backers, with millions of pounds spent on investigations.

In 2017, Kate and Gerry McCann said they had managed to adjust to a “new normality” of being a family-of-four, with their focus on giving the twins “a very normal, happy and fulfilling life”.

Speaking to the BBC on the 10-year anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance, Mrs McCann said: “We had some excellent advice early on. We have been as open with them as we can.

“We have told them about things and that people are writing things that are simply just untrue and they need to be aware of that.”

Mrs McCann also revealed that same year she continues to buy birthday and Christmas presents for Madeleine.

Last year, as they faced their 13th Christmas without Madeleine, Mr and Mrs McCann said in a message on the official Find Madeleine Facebook page: “We love her, we miss her, we hope as always.

“The search for Madeleine goes on with unwavering commitment.”

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