Thirteen years ago, in 2007, 3-year-old Madeleine McCann was abducted from her parents’ vacation home in Portugal. As the story has been reported for years, McCann and her younger twin siblings were asleep in the home when their parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, went out for dinner with friends.
The tapas bar Gerry and Kate had gone out to on May 3, 2007, wasn’t far from the condo. Their place was inside a Portugal resort and it is believed that Gerry and Kate had gone out for dinner without their children before.
However, when they arrived home that night, Madeleine was gone but her siblings remained safe. The missing persons report sparked international headlines. And over the last 13 years, there have been over 1,000 suspects and thousands of leads and potential sightings that have never been confirmed.
Now, authorities have a new top suspect in the Madeleine McCann case and he’s already in prison.
According to the BBC, a now 43-year-old German prisoner, who is serving time for a child sex crime, was living in a camper van just outside of the Portugal resort the McCann family frequented at the same time Madeleine disappeared.
While near the resort, the newest suspect owned two vehicles—the camper van and a 1993 Jaguar XJR6. The registration for the 1993 Jaguar XJR6 was transferred by the suspect to someone else the day after Madeleine’s disappearance. The suspect also received a phone call around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.
As the BBC reported, Det Ch Insp Mark Cranwell has told the public that the prisoner, who would have been 30 years old at the time, frequented the Algarve between 1995 and 2007. He would stay in the area for “days upon end,” sleeping in his camper van and living a “transient lifestyle”.
According to NBC News, it is also believed that the suspect made a living “by committing criminal offenses, such as burglaries of hotel complexes and holiday apartments as well as trafficking in narcotic drugs.”
The suspect “was in the Praia de Luz area where the McCann family was staying when she disappeared and received a phone call at 7:32 p.m., which ended at 8:02 p.m. The detective also shared the two numbers involved in the 30-minute conversation.
The suspect was using a cell phone with the number +351 912 730 680 attached to it. The number that called him, +351 916 510 683, was not in the area at the time of the call, according to detectives. Det Ch Insp Cranwell said he is sharing the numbers publicly because they believe the owner of that number holds key information and would like that person to come forward to help.
“Some people will know the man we’re describing today… you may be aware of some of the things he’s done,” the detective said in his plea for more information. “He may have confided in you about the disappearance of Madeleine. More than 13 years have passed and your loyalties may have changed. Now is the time to come forward.”
However, according to People, the detective is also keeping an open mind. “Following the ten-year anniversary, the Met received information about a German man who was known to have been in and around Praia da Luz. While this male is a suspect, we retain an open mind as to his involvement and this remains a missing person inquiry.”
In a brief statement of gratitude for the work the police have continued to do in the search for Madeleine, her parents Gerry and Kate McCann said, “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 Madeleine alive but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know, as we need to find peace.” The suspect’s identity has yet to be revealed.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
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