The man German prosecutors believe killed Madeleine McCann has been formally named as a suspect by authorities in Portugal.
Convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner was identified as suspect over the infamous disappearance but has not been charged with a crime.
The 44-year-old is serving a jail sentence for raping a 72-year-old woman in the same Portuguese resort where the toddler went missing.
Maddie has not been seen since disappearing in the Praia da Luz area in 2007.
Despite being officially declared a suspect in his native Germany, detectives in the country where the disappearance happened have only now given him that official status.
He was declared an ‘arguido’ by investigators this week, a status which means an individual is considered more than a witness but has not been arrested or charged.
A written statement issued by the Portimao section of the Faro Department of Criminal Investigation and Prosecution (DIAP) read: ‘As part of the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007, a person was made an arguido on Wednesday.
‘The person was made an arguido by the German authorities in execution of a request for international judicial cooperation issued by the Public Ministry of Portugal.
‘The investigation is led by the Portimao section of the DIAP in Faro with the assistance of the Policia Judiciaria police.
‘The investigation has been carried out with the cooperation of the English and German authorities.’
Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry were controversially made arguidos in September 2007, along with Robert Murat, but that status was lifted after no evidence emerged linking them to the disappearance.
The couple have pushed for the investigation to continue but there had been fears any hope of charging Brueckner could vanish next month.
Madeleine McCann’s family’s lawyer Rogerio Alves warned in July 2020 that Portugal’s 15-year limit on prosecutions meant there was less than two years left to take action against him.
According to the Mirror, Brueckner’s lawyer Friedrich Fuelscher said: ‘The step taken by the Portuguese authorities should not be overrated.
‘Without knowing the Portuguese legal situation in detail, I assume that this measure is a procedural artifice to stop the statute of limitations threatening in a few days.’
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