Berlin, Jun 4 (efe-epa).- Prosecutors said Thursday they believe Madeleine McCann, a British girl who went missing on holiday in Portugal 13 years ago, was murdered by a German sex offender.
Investigators in Braunschweig, Germany, said the suspect is a 43-year-old man who is in prison and has been convicted of child sex offences.
The disappearance of Madeleine at the age of three sparked an international investigation and is one of the biggest unsolved crimes in British history.
German police announced in a statement on Wednesday that they had identified a suspect in the case, which was confirmed by prosecutors at a press briefing on Thursday.
The individual, identified as Christian B by Germany newspaper Bild, lived in the Portuguese Algarve between 1995 and 2007 and was near the Praia da Luz resort where the McCanns were staying on the day the little girl disappeared.
Prosecutors said they believe the suspect, who is in prison in the city of Kiel, northern Germany, murdered Madeleine.
Suspicions about Christian B first emerged in the United Kingdom through London’s Scotland Yard.
The Braunschweig Prosecutor’s Office said the development is being investigated in close collaboration with British and Portuguese police.
A spokesman declined to give more details about the suspicions or individual’s identity as the case is under investigation.
Christian B’s last residence in Germany was in Braunschweig, which is why the case has been taken up by investigators there.
Investigators said he lived in Portugal doing occasional work for hotels and restaurants and is believed to have committed a number of crimes including burglary of hotels and holiday apartments and drug offences.
German, British and Portuguese police have launched a witness appeal for anyone who saw the suspect on 3 May 2007, the day Madeleine vanished, between 9.10 pm and 10 pm.
Photos have also been released of two dark-colored Jaguar XJR 6 vehicles and a white and yellow VW campervan.
There are also investigating a mobile phone call the suspect made the same day to an unidentified person, who is also of interest to the police.
Madeleine disappeared from a bedroom in the Praia da Luz resort in the Algarve while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant. EFE-EPA