Madeleine McCann breakthrough: 'Fibres from toddler's pyjamas found in suspect's van'

4 May 2022, 00:10 | Updated: 4 May 2022, 09:10

German investigators have discovered "evidence" of Madeleine McCann
German investigators have discovered "evidence" of Madeleine McCann. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

German investigators have discovered "evidence" of Madeleine McCann in a campervan belonging to a prime suspect in the case.

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It comes exactly 15 years after Madeleine vanished from the apartment she slept in with her two younger siblings in Praia da Luz, Portugal, while her parents visited a nearby tapas bar.

The evidence is believed to be fibres from the then three-year-old's pyjamas.

Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the investigation with Portuguese and British detectives, said he believed Madeleine was dead and that Christian Brueckner, 45, was the man responsible.

"We have found new facts and new evidence," he said.

"It's not forensic evidence but evidence and because of our evidence, we are sure he is the murderer of Madeleine McCann. We are sure he killed Madeleine."

When asked on Portuguese TV whether it was "true that you have found something of Madeleine McCann in Christian Brueckner's van", Mr Wolters replied: "I'm not going to comment on the details of the investigation.

"But you can't deny it?" the interviewer asked.

"I don't want to deny it," he said.

He later added: "Because the suspect has not yet been informed."

Read more: Maddie suspect branded 'danger to society' and denied parole amid claims he has an alibi

Read more: Madeleine McCann's parents hopeful for 'answers' to 'horrific crime' 15 years on

Prosecutors in the Algarve city of Faro released a statement last month that said, according to a translation, that a person was named an "arguido", a Portuguese legal designation which elevates a witness to the status of a named or formal suspect.

The statement did not name Christian Brueckner but said the person was made an "arguido" by German authorities at the request of Portugal's public prosecution service.

Brueckner, who was identified as a murder suspect by German prosecutors in June 2020, has reportedly denied any involvement in the case and has not been charged.

According to Sky, he has claimed to have an alibi, revealing he was having sex in his camper van with a woman at the time of Madeleine's disappearance.

He further claimed that he drove the young woman to Faro Airport in Portugal on the morning after their encounter and she was later arrested for carrying pepper spray and later appeared in court.

Brueckner is serving a seven-year jail term for a brutal 2005 sex attack on a 72-year-old woman and his application for early release has been rejected by the German authorities.