It’s been almost fifteen years since three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared while on holiday with her family in Praia da Luz in the Algarve region of Portugal. She is believed to have been snatched from her bed in the middle of the night while her parents were out at a tapas restaurant less than 100 yards away from their holiday apartment. Madeleine McCann became one of the most recognized faces globally as her parents launched an international awareness campaign to find their daughter. Fifteen years later, another formal suspect has finally been named in her disappearance.

According to the BBC, “A German man has been declared an official suspect by Portuguese prosecutors investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Christian Brueckner has been made an ‘arguido,’ but Portuguese authorities have not formally revealed the suspect’s name.” Naming Brueckner a formal suspect in the case comes ahead of an important deadline in the timeline of the investigation—the 15th anniversary of the day Madeleine was reported missing will mark the final day that investigators will be able to declare any individual to be a formal suspect, which is a crucial step in charging a suspect criminally. However, Portuguese prosecutors have clarified in a statement that this decision was in no way driven by the upcoming deadline, and was instead made due to “strong indications” that a crime had been committed.

Madeleine McCann

Brueckner is currently serving a prison sentence in Germany for drug offenses and the rape of a 72-year-old woman. A phone that was attributed to Brueckner placed him in the area of Madeleine’s disappearance within a crucial 30-minute window. Brueckner had been breaking into vacation homes and apartments in the area of the resort where the McCanns had been staying and had children’s clothes in his van. Brueckner denies any involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.