- Four-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann disappeared without a trace in 2007
- Now, police have announced that they have identified a new suspect in the case
- A 43-year-old German man with a dark history of abuse may well have killed Madeleine
Police have announced that they finally have a new suspect in the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann.
The four-year-old disappeared without a trace just days after her birthday in 2007 but at last, a glimmer of hope has surfaced that the family may finally find out what happened to her.
In a statement released by Germany's federal criminal agency, it was said that a 43-year-old German man who is currently a suspect may have killed the child.
The unnamed suspect is serving a 'long prison sentence' for an unrelated crime, according to the statement:
"In connection with the disappearance of the then three-year-old British girl Madeleine Beth McCann... the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office is investigating a 43-year-old German citizen on suspicion of murder."
On May 3 all those years ago, 'Maddie' vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal, not far from where her parents were having dinner with friends.
The incident sparked one of the biggest searches in modern history and, despite numerous suspects and theories, no one has been held accountable.
Speaking to ZDF television, lead investigator Christian Hoppe said that the white male had lived in the same area between 1995 and 2007, doing odd jobs in the region:
"There is information suggesting that he also earned his living by committing criminal offences, such as burglaries of hotel complexes and holiday flats as well as trafficking in narcotic drugs."
The police have launched an appeal for more information, listing two vehicles that the suspect was using at the time:
- Dark coloured Jaguar XJR 6 which bore German plates
- A Volkswagen T3 Westfalia with Portuguese plates
Two phone numbers were also listed as a point of interest, one belonging to the suspect and another that had been in contact with the suspect just over an hour before Madeleine was last seen, Briefly.co.za gathered.
In a statement released by the girl's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, welcomed the breakthrough:
"All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice. We will never give up hope of finding Madeline alive. But whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace."
British police say that they are still treating the case as a 'missing person inquiry', with authorities commenting that:
"I'm appealing to you directly: you may know, you may be aware, of some of the things that he has done. More than 13 years have passed, and your loyalties may have changed. This individual is in prison and we are conscious some people may have been concerned about contacting police in the past. Now is the time to come forward. Somebody out there knows a lot more than they're letting on. Somebody knows something."
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!