Suspect in Madeleine McCann Case Faces Now Eyed in 2004 Rape, German Prosecutors Say

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The suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann reportedly faces another investigation over the alleged rape of an Irish woman in the Algarve region in Portugal 16 years ago, German prosecutors said on Tuesday. 

German authorities had been investigating Christian Brueckner, 43, on suspicion of murder and in June announced that the German national was the prime suspect in connection with the disappearance of McCann, the 3-year-old British toddler who went missing from the apartment at the Praia da Luz seaside resort in the Algarve region of Portugal, while on holiday with her family in 2007, The Daily Telegraph reported

German news agency, Deutsche Pesse-Agentur Gmb (DPA) reported on Wednesday that Hans Christian Wolters, the public prosecutor in north-west German leading the search for McCann, cited a new credible source, a female victim, who they said came forward to British media after there had been an international appeal for witnesses to come forward.

Lawyers for Brueckner, who is currently serving a prison sentence for drug trafficking in Germany, have denied his involvement in the McCann case, the Telegraph reported. 

Authorities said that Brueckner had spent many years in Portugal, including Praia de Luz around the time of McCann’s disappearance, and had been linked to two previous convictions for “sexual contact with girls." Police said they can place Brueckner, near Praia de Luz in Portugal the night of McCann’s disappearance.

Earlier this week, German prosecutors announced that they have “material evidence” that McCann is no longer alive. 

During an interview Wolters told Portuguese broadcaster, RTP that investigators have evidence that she is dead but refused to elaborate further, reported The Independent.

According to The Telegraph, the admission comes after searches were carried out in Germany and Portugal this summer in connection with Brueckner’s involvement in the little girl’s disappearance. One of the searches included a two-day dig at an allotment on the edge of Hanover, where the suspect allegedly stayed in 2007 and uncovered a cellar that was searched with sniffer dogs. 

It emerged last week that the police had been searching at the allotment for computer memory sticks, but prosecutors declined to disclose whether they had been found, The Times reported. 

The Independent reported earlier this week that in 2016, police uncovered memory sticks during a separate search of a former factory 30 miles from Braunschweig. The devices contained more than 8,000 files, including media files showing the abuse of minors. The files also included about 100 pictures of Brueckner partly nude.

In June, the prosecutors' office wrote to McCann's parents informing them that they have “concrete evidence” that their daughter is dead, but declined to offer any more details, as not to impede with the investigation.

Wolters said during a briefing at his office in June that he “he has been closely following and monitoring what is going on in the media,” and “considered how difficult it will be for the family when we tell them that we assume Madeleine is dead but cannot say why she is dead.”

“I know it would be a relief to the parent to know how she died,” Wolters said as reported in The Telegraph, “but it would hamper with the investigation if we give away too much information.” 

Police said they are unable to charge Brueckner with the murder of Madeleine McCann with the current evidence but have said their case against the convicted pedophile is “90 percent.”

In the meantime, a public appeal for witnesses launched by the prosecutors' office to further build the case against Brueckner continues, reported The Times.

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