Hope for a solution after fifteen years of false leads and dead ends

After fifteen years of false leads and dead ends, is the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, 3, in Portugal, about to end? The investigation, however, saw a boost on Thursday with a suspect indicted in Germany. If his identity is not confirmed, nor even the nature of the charges against him, Berlin has claimed since 2020 that it has evidence of the girl’s murder, indicating that the German pedophile, “Christian B”, is the main suspect. A look back at this symbolic issue on five key dates.

May 3, 2007: Little Maddie disappeared in the middle of the night

On May 3, 2007, Kate McCann and Jerry McCann are enjoying their vacation in Praia da Luz, southern Portugal. Parents set up a watchtower: while having dinner with friends a hundred meters from the hotel, every thirty minutes an adult goes to the room where the two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie sleep. Like Madeline, 3, nicknamed “Maddy”.

But at 10 p.m., Kate McCann realized that her daughter was no longer in her bed. The shutters and window of the bedroom are open. The two doctors warn the local police, who will arrive immediately in about thirty minutes. Despite extensive searches, the girl still could not be traced. An investigation is opened into a disturbing disappearance, but the case quickly takes on an international dimension. Then the British media flocked from all over the world. On May 9, 2007, Interpol issued an alert.

May 15, 2007: British indictment

Certifications pour in from all over the world. The little girl had been seen in Malta, Morocco or Belgium. But none of these leads came to fruition. At the same time, the investigation is still ongoing in Portugal. 32-year-old Briton Robert Murad was charged on May 15, 2007. The man, a real estate consultant, lived next door to the hotel and was involved in the research. But after a few weeks, he will finally be acquitted. He received £600,000 (750,000 euros) in damages from several media outlets that have peeled his past, with some suggesting he has pedophilia.

September 7, 2007: Parents suspect their turn

Four months after the young girl’s disappearance, Thunder bombed: Portuguese police have indicted Kate McCann, on suspicion of accidentally killing Maddie. A few days later, it was her husband’s turn to meet the same fate. Investigators say traces of blood and “biological remains” were found in the hotel room. Then they consider that the child died instantly and the parents hid the body in a panic. Several household accident hypotheses have been formulated, such as giving a very strong dose of sleeping pills or falling down the stairs.

Maddie’s parents, who have never stopped shouting their innocence and doubling calls to find their daughter, will be released in June 2008. And the poison of suspicion will not dissipate because of it all. The Portuguese inspector, for example, would go on to publicly accuse the two doctors, and would even publish a well-known book. And this while he was sidelined from the investigation.

July 21, 2008: Case closed… then reopened after five years

On July 21, 2008, the Portuguese public prosecutor closed the case. However, a monitoring unit has been set up to collect testimonials. In October 2013, the Portuguese police finally decided to reopen the case, a few months after the official reopened via the canal. A spokesman for the Public Prosecutor’s Office told AFP that “the file was reopened after the emergence of new elements,” explaining that since the investigation it has been continuing “in cooperation with the English and German authorities.” In fact, this reopening concealed a name, that of “Christian B.” , a repeat of child sex in the eyes of investigators.

June 3, 2020: ‘Christian B’, Suspect Number 1

On June 3, 2020, after many years of their initial skepticism, German authorities shared their findings. They claim to have confirmed that Madeleine McCann was dead and named a German suspect: Christian B, 43, detained in Kiel, northern Germany, for the rape of a 72-year-old American. The facts committed in 2005, already in Praia de Luz.

At the time, Christian B, also known as a drug smuggler, was living in the Portuguese seaside resort. On the day of Madi’s kidnapping, her phone died near the hotel where the McCanns were staying. What revives the hopes of Madeleine McCann’s parents, who are desperately searching for answers to her disappearance.

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