Madeleine McCann, the 3-year-old girl who went missing during a family vacation in Portugal in 2007, is assumed dead by German prosecutors following the identification of a new suspect earlier this week.
According to BBC, Hans Christian Wolters of the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday, “We are assuming that the girl is dead. With the suspect, we are talking about a sexual predator who has already been convicted of crimes against little girls and he’s already serving a long sentence.”
In German media reports, the suspect is identified only as Christian B. due to German privacy laws. He is a 43-year-old man currently serving a prison sentence. The BBC reported that the suspect was living regularly in the Algarve region of Portugal, where McCann went missing, between 1995 and 2007 and regularly committed burglaries and dealt drugs.
U.K.’s Metropolitan Police revealed the new suspect Wednesday and also described two vehicles he used around the time of her disappearance, and he is thought to have been in the Praia da Luz region on the night of May 3, 2007. They also revealed two phone numbers relevant to the investigation and are asking the public for any information they have pertaining to the numbers.
On Thursday, the Met Police tweeted that they had received over 270 calls and emails following the appeal on Wednesday.
The disappearance around McCann has been highly scrutinized and has been the subject of many theories, including the parents’ involvement and even the theory that McCann was shipped to Morocco and became a victim of child trafficking. The 3-year-old girl was asleep in a ground-floor apartment with her two siblings and a group of other children while the parents and their family friends dined at a restaurant 180 feet away. The parents took turns checking in on the children, but McCann’s mother discovered her missing at 10 p.m.
Investigators said the case remains a missing persons case because there is no “definitive evidence” that McCann is actually dead. According to CNN, Wolters would not elaborate on what evidence they have to support their assumption but said if the investigation leads to charges and a trial, the suspect would be tried in Germany, where murder is a criminal offense.