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Madeleine McCann's parents 'welcome' confirmation that German man is an official suspect
22 April 2022, 18:14 | Updated: 22 April 2022, 18:38
Madeleine McCann's parents "welcome the news" that a German national has been declared a formal suspect over her disappearance.
Christian Brueckner was made an "arguido" by Portuguese authorities on Thursday, a move which designates him as an official suspect.
It was thought that would allow enquiries into her disappearance to continue because Portugal has a 15-year time limit on murder charges.
It means he is considered as more than a witness but he has not been arrested or charged.
Kate and Gerry McCann said: "Even though the possibility may be slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive and we will be reunited with her."
They also said in a statement on Friday evening: "We welcome the news that the Portuguese authorities have declared a German man an 'arguido' in relation to the disappearance of our beloved daughter Madeleine.
"This reflects progress in the investigation, being conducted by the Portuguese, German and British authorities. We are kept informed of developments by the Metropolitan Police.
"It is important to note the 'arguido' has not yet been charged with any specific crime related to Madeleine's disappearance."
Madeleine, from Leicester, disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3 2007.
Last month, it was reported that the Met Police's investigation into Maddie's disappearance was due to close after 11 years.
Operation Grange began four years after the three-year-old vanished in Portugal in 2007.
The Met has asked for a grant to keep the operation running to September and the case could always be reopened later if new evidence emerged.
It is still treating the case as a missing person investigation.
Brueckner is currently serving seven years in Oldenburg prison, northern Germany, after being convicted of raping a 72-year-old woman in 2005 in Praia da Luz.
Updates to follow