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

2 May 2022, 18:44 | Updated: 2 May 2022, 18:49

Tuesday will mark 15 years since Madeleine McCann went missing.
Tuesday will mark 15 years since Madeleine McCann went missing. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The parents of Madeleine McCann have released an emotional statement to mark 15 years since their daughter vanished, saying it is "essential" they learn the truth of the "horrific crime".

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Kate and Gerry McCann said that they needed closure on what happened to their toddler because "uncertainty creates weakness".

Madeleine, then three, went missing from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3 2007.

The Met - which continues to treat her disappearance as a missing persons inquiry - said it was "committed" to finding the truth 15 years on.

It comes after convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 44, was declared an official suspect by Portuguese authorities last month, which was welcomed by the couple.

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In a message on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page on Monday, the McCanns wrote: "This year we mark 15 years since we last saw Madeleine.

"It feels no harder than any other but no easier either. It's a very long time.

"Many people talk about the need for 'closure'. It's always felt a strange term.

"Regardless of outcome, Madeleine will always be our daughter and a truly horrific crime has been committed. These things will remain.

"It is true though that uncertainty creates weakness; knowledge and certainty give strength, and for this reason our need for answers, for the truth, is essential.

"We are grateful for the ongoing work and commitment of the UK, Portuguese and German authorities as it is this combined police effort which will yield results and bring us those answers.

"As always, we would like to thank all of our supporters for their continued good wishes and support.

"It is a huge comfort to know that regardless of time passed, Madeleine is still in people's hearts and minds.

"Thank you."

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell from the Met, who leads the operation, said: "Fifteen years on from Madeleine's disappearance in Praia Da Luz our thoughts, as always, are with her family.

"Officers continue to investigate the case and our dedicated team are still working closely with law enforcement colleagues from the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria as well as the German Bundeskriminalamt.

"At this time, the case remains a missing person's inquiry and all involved are committed to doing what we can to find answers."

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 McCann's disappearance.

He also claimed that the pair were stopped and photographed at a police roadblock while he was driving the woman to the airport at Faro for a flight home the next day.

German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the investigation with Portuguese and British detectives, told Sky: "I assume if he has anything that exonerates him that sooner or later he will share it with us and we would then check it out.

He added: "So far he has told us nothing, he's given us no alibi. So, we can only work on the evidence we have found so far in our investigation. And there was nothing to exonerate him."

Investigators believe the convicted sex offender killed Madeleine, after abducting her from the holiday apartment.