German investigators ‘have no forensic evidence that Madeleine McCann is dead’

Madeleine McCann: Mark Williams-Thomas discusses case

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Madeleine went missing while on holiday with her family in the Algarve in 2007. She had been sleeping in the McCann’s ground floor apartment at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz when mother Kate found her missing at around 10pm on May 3 that year.

In 2020, the public prosecutors’ office in Braunschweig, Germany, announced convicted rapist and child sexual abuser Christian Brueckner as their prime suspect in the case.

They said they believed he was responsible for the killing of Madeleine. Brueckner has always denied any allegations in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Investigators said at the time they believed to have found records of a phone call on the night Maddie disappeared placing Brueckner near the resort an hour before she was found missing.

They also noted Brueckner’s Jaguar car had been re-registered to another person the day after Maddie disappeared.

In the almost three years since that announcement, Brueckner has not been charged for any alleged offence in relation to Madeleine McCann’s vanishing. Other charges concerning unrelated alleged crimes are expected to be brought soon.

In a new documentary looking into the evidence surrounding the prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, which aired last night, Hans Christian Wolters, spokesperson for the public prosecutors’ office, confirmed a long-held suspicion that all evidence against Brueckner remains circumstantial.

He told the Channel 5 programme: “We have no forensic evidence that Madeleine is dead, we have no other results.

“I don’t know where the body is right now. If we knew, we would have found it.”

His remarks follow recent speculation that fibres from the pyjamas Maddie was wearing the night she disappeared may have been found in the camper van Brueckner lived out of while in the Algarve.

Jon Clarke, another journalist who was one of the first on the scene in Portugal in 2007, said recently he believed the speculation had come from Sandra Felguiras, a Portuguese reporter who has followed the case since it began and has “impeccable sources”.

However, Mr Wolters has already denied the existence of such forensic evidence.

In an interview with Ms Felguiras herself last week – timed for the 15th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance – he said that investigators had uncovered “some new evidence – not forensic evidence, but evidence”.

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When asked by Mark Williams-Thomas – host of the Channel 5 documentary, and a former police officer turned investigative journalist – if they had any forensic evidence linking Brueckner to Madeleine, he replied: “We have no forensic evidence for the death of Madeleine McCann.”

Mr Wolters has said he remains “100 percent certain” that they have the right man.

He told the documentary added “nothing new”, but declined to comment further on the specifics of the case.

The public prosecutors’ office told the programme “not all our evidence has been made public”.

Ahead of the 15th anniversary, the Portuguese authorities also named Brueckner as an “arguido” – or formal suspect – in their investigation into the disappearance, to avoid the statute of limitations the country has on such crimes.

At the time, Mr Wolters said that the fact they had done so “shows everyone that we are not on the wrong way”.

The move had sparked speculation that Brueckner could be extradited to Portugal. German authorities reportedly questioned Brueckner in his cell on behalf of the Portuguese prosecutor, but he is said to have remained silent.

However, Mr Clarke said sources in the German judiciary had told him there was “no way” Brueckner would ever leave Germany.

The authorities there have already reportedly denied him parole, and are bringing new charges that seek to keep him in prison.

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