A suspect has been identified in the 2007 case of missing toddler Madeleine McCann.
The Prosecutor's Office in Faro, Portugal, announced in a statement on April 21 that an individual has been made an official suspect by German authorities under the request of Portuguese officials, however, the suspect has not been named publicly and has not yet been charged.
Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007 while vacationing in the Algarve region of Portugal with her family. She was only 3 years old when she went missing from her bedroom as her parents—Kate and Gerry McCann—dined nearby with friends.
Authorities launched an international hunt for the toddler, but she was never found, and no one was ever charged for her disappearance.
Kate and Gerry—also parents to 17-year-old twins Sean and Amelie—were named suspects in 2007 by Portuguese police, but maintained their innocence in their daughter's disappearance. They were subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.
In 2020, German police separately identified Christian Brueckner as a suspect in Madeleine's case. At the time, prosecutors said they had evidence linking him to the young girl's disappearance.
However, there was not enough evidence to charge Christian in court. He is currently behind bars in a German prison for drug offenses and has a pending seven-year sentence for allegedly raping a 72-year-old woman in the same region of Portugal where Madeleine went missing.
A spokesperson from the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor's Office in Germany said in 2020 that they were "assuming" Madeleine was dead. However, Madeleine's parents have remained hopeful.
Clarence Mitchell, a spokesperson for Kate and Gerry, told BBC in 2020 that the family has "never given up hope of finding Madeleine alive, even now despite all these grim reports that are emerging, because they haven't had anything to suggest the worst has happened."
He added, "They say they need peace. They need to find peace. And I think everybody can understand that."