Madeleine McCann: A timeline of key dates and developments
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Frustrated investigators said 45-year old Christian B, the man formally identified as a suspect in the disappearance of the British toddler 15 years ago, is “playing games with them” after he was made an “arguido” — translated as “named suspect” or “formal suspect” — by Portuguese authorities last week.
The convicted rapist’s status means he is treated as more than a witness but has not been arrested or charged over his possible involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine on May 3, 2007 while on holiday with her parents in Praia da Luz, in Portugal’s Algarve region.
Prosecutors in Faro did not publicly name the man but said in a statement he was identified as a suspect by German authorities at their request.
Police traced a mobile phone the man had been using to a mast 200 yards from the McCann family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.
Christian B lived in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007 and burgled hotels and holiday flats, according to court documents seen by Reuters in 2020.
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Christian B also reportedly falsified passports and was caught stealing diesel from a Portuguese harbour. He is currently serving seven years in a German prison for raping a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal.
While he denies involvement in the case, which saw the then-three-year-old vanish from her bedroom while her parents were out with friends at a nearby restaurant, police are also examining whether he has any links to other child disappearances in the area.
Madeleine McCann: Investigating The Prime Suspect, a new documentary airing on Channel 5 on May 3, is expected to see the suspect tell British investigator Mark Williams-Thomas he can prove he was elsewhere on the night of the girl’s disappearance.
But German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said: “We’re not aware of any alibi at all.”
Speaking to The Sun, he added: “He has not given any information so far – not even via his defence attorney.”
Meanwhile, a source close to the German case told the outlet: “It’s very frustrating for the investigators.
“They feel Christian B is playing games with them.
“It would have made sense for him to reveal his supposed alibi the moment he came under suspicion. It’s just mind games.”
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As per reports of a Channel 5 insider to The Mirror, the suspect will be seen providing “a very detailed alibi for the days leading up to and after Madeleine’s disappearance” from his cell at a high-security prison in Oldenburg, northwest Germany.
They added: “We’ve spoken to four people who have gone on the record to independently, in different ways, support his alibi.
“They have got nothing to benefit from supporting him and, in fact, a couple of those people really don’t like him but they have still backed his account.”
Madeleine’s parents said in a statement on Friday: “We welcome the news that the Portuguese authorities have declared a German man an ‘arguido’.
“This reflects progress in the investigation. Even though the possibility may be slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive and we will be reunited with her.”
The toddler’s disappearance, which prompted one of the biggest searches of its kind in recent years, will hit the 15-year-mark next month.
The developments in the case could be related to the timing, as Portugal has a 15-year statute of limitations for crimes with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years or more.
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