World What we know about 'Christian B', the new suspect in the Madeleine McCann case
Is this the final twist of the mystery I've investigated for 13 years? For the sake of Madeleine McCann's parents, we must hope that the truth is about to emerge at long last, writes DAVID JONES
DAVID JONES: During my 40 years as a reporter the question that most people ask me is invariably the same: 'What really happened to Madeleine McCann?'For 13 of those years I have striven vainly, like many others — Portuguese and British policemen, privately hired detectives, investigative journalists — to provide the answer.
German police have identified a new key suspect in the investigation into the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann from a hotel in Portugal in 2007.
Madeleine was three years old at the time of her disappearance, and while British police maintain her case is a missing persons investigation, German authorities say they are now treating it as a murder.
German authorities have not released the suspect's name, but German and British media have reported his identity, as well as some details from his past.
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EXCLUSIVE: The single-storey red-tiled villa where suspect Christian Brueckner lived in Praia da Luz, Portugal, is called Escola Vehla - the old school house - and is now owned by a British couple. 'He had no interest in becoming friends or neighbourly,' said a 52-year-old neighbour. 'We would see him occasionally at the villa, but he spent most of the time in his camper vans.'We did not have much to do with him and to be honest we're surprised that he is the suspect in the McCann girl case. The police must know something.
Here's what we know:
He has been identified as Christian B
Due to reporting rules, German media have identified the suspect only as Christian B, a 43-year-old German national.
He is currently in jail for sexual assault
Police say Christian B has been convicted a number of times for sexually abusing children.
According to The Guardian UK, he was a minor when he was convicted of child sexual abuse in 1994.
He reportedly fled to Portugal a year later, at the age of 18, to avoid his two-year sentence, but returned to Germany in 1999 to serve out his sentence.
He was convicted of sexually abusing a child in Germany again in 2017 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Then in 2019, he was sentenced to another seven years in prison for a rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Praia da Luz in 2005.
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Portuguese authorities investigated the assault at the time, but ultimately dropped the case due to lack of evidence.
According to local German newspaper Braunschweiger Zeitung, the evidence to convict Christian B of the rape came from two burglars.
The two reportedly broke into his German apartment and took his video camera, on which he had recorded the rape of the American woman in her Portuguese home.
The thieves handed the footage to the authorities.
He lived in Portugal at the time Madeleine disappeared
German authorities said Christian B lived "more or less permanently" in Portugal's Algarve between 1997 and 2007, and for several of those years he lived in a house between Lagos and Praia da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared.
Praia da Luz is also where his American victim lived.
Christian B held a series of jobs, including at a restaurant, but authorities said there was evidence to suggest he also earned money by drug trafficking and burgling hotels and holiday flats.
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© AFP The prison in Kiel (Germany), where the new suspect of the disappearance of Maddie McCann is imprisoned. INVESTIGATION - Thirteen years after the disappearance of Maddie in Portugal, a suspect was identified by the German police The identification of a new suspect in the case of the disappearance of the little British Madeleine McCann there is thirteen at Portugal , is "encouraging," said Portuguese lawyer McCann on Friday.
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Police are zeroing in on him as a main suspect
Those close to the McCann family believe the fact police are treating Christian B as a main suspect is important.
Clarence Mitchell, a long-time spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, told the ABC that in the 13 years of the investigation, he couldn't recall any police force "focusing so specifically on one individual with such detailed requests for such information from the public".
"It's certainly appears to be highly significant," he said.
Here's what investigators are trying to find out
Investigators are trying to confirm where Christian B was when Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007, between 9:10pm and 10:00pm.
They are also looking for anyone with information on two vehicles: a dark-coloured Jaguar XJR 6, and a white and yellow VW T3 Westfalia with a Portuguese registration.
Authorities seem to suspect there is someone out there with information about whether these vehicles were used to kidnap Madeleine.
Investigators are offering a 10,000-euro reward for information that could help the investigation.
Landtag discusses judicial behavior against suspects .
The Landtag Schleswig-Holstein will deal with the German suspect this Wednesday in the case of Madeleine "Maddie" McCann, who has been missing for over 13 years. © Photo: Carsten Rehder / dpa The suspect in the “Maddie” case is currently serving a prison term in the Kiel prison.