German prosecutors say they have evidence Madeleine McCann is dead and they are appealing to British tourists for information about the new suspect.
- Police need more information about the new suspect, named Christian B
- The prosecutor made it clear they are treating the case as a murder investigation
- He said all the information police have suggests Madeleine McCann is dead
Hans Christian Wolters, from the Braunschweig public prosecutor’s office, said police need more information about where the new suspect, named only as Christian B, has lived so police can search for Madeleine’s body.
He said he did not have enough evidence currently for the suspect to go on trial.
“At the moment we cannot substantiate our suspicions in such a way that we could, for example, also apply for an arrest warrant against him here in Germany for the murder of Madeleine McCann,” Mr Wolter told Sky News.
“And we also have too little evidence at the moment to be able to file an indictment in court.”
Madeleine was almost four years old when she disappeared from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007, while her parents dined nearby.
Madeleine McCann went missing in Portugal 13 years ago.(AP: file)
Mr Wolters made it clear they were treating the case as a murder investigation and were working on the assumption the missing girl was dead.
“According to our indications, the girl is dead. We have no evidence that she is alive,” he said.
“All the evidence that we have, but which I cannot give you, indicates that the girl is indeed dead.”
Mr Wolters said the suspect may have committed more crimes while he lived in Portugal between 1995 and 2007, and appealed for tourists to come forward.
“We hope some British tourists can help us to find the murderer of Madeleine McCann,” he said.
“We think the suspect has possibly committed more crimes, possibly against British and Irish and Americans, we think there are more victims of sexual crimes.”
Police have asked anyone who might have information about this house in Portugal to come forward. It is where the man suspected to be involved in Madeleine’s disappearance lived.(Bundeskriminalamt via AP)
He said police have evidence the suspect made his living through burglary thefts in hotels and holiday apartments, as well as through drug trafficking.
The suspect is currently in prison in Germany, and has two previous convictions for “sexual contact with girls”, authorities have said.
The suspect’s description fits that of a 43-year-old man who was convicted in December in the city of Braunschweig of the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in her apartment in Portugal, based largely on DNA evidence.
The suspect denied the charges during his trial and has appealed his conviction.
According to a copy of the rape verdict with all names redacted, seen by The Associated Press, the German man was a career criminal who was in and out of jail.
His crimes included the sexual abuse of a child in 1994 when he would have been around 17 and was tried in youth court, as well as a 2016 case in which he was convicted of abusing another child and of possession of child pornography.
Other convictions include drug trafficking, burglary and weapons violations.