Christian Brueckner today remains a prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. He is behind bars in 2021 but has not been charged in her case. The search to compile enough evidence to charge him in the 3-year-old’s abduction slowed in 2020.
The British girl’s mysterious disappearance on holiday in Portugal has haunted the globe since 2007. She was taken from her bed 13 years ago from a beach resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Her parents, British doctors Gerry McCann and Kate McCann, were having dinner with friends only 50 yards away when she was abducted. The group was taking turns checking on each other’s children every 15 minutes. Kate McCann made the horrifying discovery her daughter was gone.
Brueckner is incarcerated for raping a 72-year-old woman at the same resort where the McCann family was staying when Madeleine vanished. During an investigation into child abduction, police found 8,000 images of sexual abuse of children on a USB drive buried under Brueckner’s dead dog, Charlie. German investigators said they have “concrete evidence” he killed Madeleine, but they have not said what that evidence is. Meanwhile, her case remains a missing persons inquiry in the United Kingdom, with UK investigators saying there is “no definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead.”
48 Hours is examining the latest updates in the case and the suspect, who German investigators believe killed Madeleine. The episode, “The Puzzle: Solving the Madeleine McCann Case,” airs at 10 p.m. Eastern time Saturday, February 27, 2021.
Here’s what you need to know:
Madeleine’s Parents’ ‘Resolve Is Still the Same’ in 2021 & Brueckner Remains Incarcerated in an Unrelated Rape Case
Madeleine McCann’s parents and loved ones are holding out hope that they will find their little girl or that they will find answers in her case. A post on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page in February said hope remains in 2021.
“Our resolve is still the same and we have not lost hope of finding Madeleine or finding out what happened to her,” the post said. “Thank you for continuing to be by our side and keeping hope alive.”
They did not comment directly about Brueckner, who investigators discussed at length on 48 Hours. Mark Hofmann, a crime and intelligence analyst based in Germany, said on the show that Brueckner fits the profile, and cellphone evidence showed him at or near the crime scene the night Madeleine disappeared. He lived about one mile from the resort.
“He absolutely matches the profile of a person who could potentially abduct and or kill a little girl like Madeleine McCann,” Hofmann said. “His cellphone was tracked at the crime scene or at least next to the crime scene the night Maddie disappeared.”
Brueckner is behind bars in an unrelated case. He was found guilty in the 2005 rape a 72-year-old American woman at the Praia da Luz resort, the same one where Madeleine and her family was staying. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, and will remain imprisoned until 2026 after a bid to overturn his conviction was denied, according to the Daily Mail. He was identified as a suspect in her case in June 2020.
Brueckner lived mainly in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007, and made a living doing odd jobs in the area of Madeleine’s disappearance. He was known to have burglarized hotel rooms and holiday flats, the Daily Mail reported, and German prosecutors said he received a call on his cellphone around the time of her disappearance.
Brueckner Was Cleared in the ‘German Maddie” Case in February 2021 & The Investigation Into Madeleine’s Disappearance Was Stalled in 2020
Do USB drives found buried beneath a dead dog hold the clue to what may have happened to Madeleine McCann? https://t.co/RqMF8w7G4q
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 26, 2021
Brueckner, age 44, was under investigation for the disappearance of another little girl, nicknamed “The German Maddie.” Inga Gehricke was a 5-year-old girl who disappeared on a family picnic in 2015. Brueckner was working to renovate a nearby factory at the time, and was considered a prime suspect in her case.
His attorney, Friedrich Fulscher, told The Sun on February 23, 2021: “The public prosecutor’s office has thoroughly examined connections to the Inga case and determined there isn’t even an initial suspicion against my client.”
The February Facebook post on Madeleine’s campaign page followed a lengthier post on New Year’s Eve, which provided some insight into the investigation into Brueckner.
Her parents wrote the coronavirus pandemic slowed progress in the case. They also wrote about hopes for the future and gratitude about leaving the year behind them. Each of them lost a parent in 2020, they wrote.
The post said:
What a year! One we don’t want to remember but will find it hard to forget.
There’s no doubt that 2020 has been tough for most people, and often distressing, with so much loss, worry and isolation. Despite losing a parent each, we are aware we have been more fortunate than many, with our family unit at home and jobs to go to. Understandably, the investigation to find Madeleine has been forced to slow down as a result of the pandemic. It hasn’t stopped however and the hope, energy and determination to find her and uncover the truth remain steadfast.
We are very grateful for the continued support, especially throughout this ‘rubbish’ year and for all the Christmas wishes too. Thank you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has suffered this year. Let’s hope 2021 is a brighter, more positive one.
With our best wishes for exactly that.
Kate & Gerry