Madeleine McCann Suspect Officially Named Right Before Deadline for Charges

Police have officially named Christian Brueckner as their primary suspect in the Madeleine McCann disappearance case. The convicted rapist is currently behind bars in Germany after the rape of a 72-year-old American tourist in Portugal. According to The Daily Mail, that crime occurred 18 months before McCann was abducted in the same area.

Brueckner has been connected to several other missing children in Europe since 1996 and was named by German officials as the responsible party in McCann's disappearance since 2020. Police and officials made the suspect status official on Wednesday, managing to dodge the statute of limitations on the case while hopefully finding an actual conclusion for the family.

There are many past incidents and connected stories related to Brueckner to name him officially by this point. According to Daily Mail, he allegedly admitted to being the kidnapper to a friend in a bar, though Scotland Yard police in the U.K. disagree with European detectives.

But apart from that, Brueckner has been connected to the location of McCann's disappearance, lived in the area for decades and only swiftly left the country after McCann went missing. While Portuguese police have taken steps to move forward in the process formally, Brueckner's lawyer has said the convicted rapist has not been charged and has called the move a "procedural trick."

"The legal grounds for making Brueckner an arguido (official suspect) include the fact that he allegedly confessed to a friend he had snatched Madeleine and mobile phone records placed him in Praia da Luz the night she vanished," a source told The Daily Mail. "But it is obviously linked to the fact that the Portuguese authorities want to keep their options open with the 15-year deadline looming."

Many do agree with Brueckner as the suspect, though. As The Daily Mail notes, experts have said Brueckner fits the bill for McCann's kidnapper. "My own gut feeling on it – from the moment the Germans began to release information two years ago – was that this was the best fit," Former head of Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center Jim Gamble told BBC Breakfast. "You have proximity, you have opportunity, and you have a profile with regards to an offender that absolutely fits in a way that no others have...This is all positive. And from my own position, and I wouldn't be surprised if charges did follow."

May will mark the 15th anniversary of McCann's disappearance while on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry. They had previously been officially named as suspects themselves in the early days of the investigation. However, the Portuguese police chief behind this crusade was taken off the case after the couple were cleared of involvement.

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Whether charges will come against the convicted rapist still remains up in the air. It would seem that the decision skirts the 15-year statute of limitations, so more time is now available to create a case against the current German prisoner. The alleged bar admission and his other crimes lend a lot of weight to his role as suspect. But we'll have to wait on the police's next moves to confirm their goal with his sentence.