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British girl Madeleine McCann ‘presumed dead’ as latest break in case points to jailed suspect – German prosecutors

British girl Madeleine McCann ‘presumed dead’ as latest break in case points to jailed suspect – German prosecutors
German prosecutors have said that the authorities now believe missing British girl Madeleine McCann is dead, and are asking for the public’s help in closing the 13-year investigation.

“We assume the girl is dead,” Braunschweig state prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said.

Authorities said on Thursday that police are focusing their investigation on a 43-year-old German man over the girl’s murder. The suspect is currently serving time in prison for sexual offences.

The man is described as white with short blonde hair and a height of approximately 6ft (1.8m), with a slim build at the time of the alleged murder. The suspect has not been named due to German privacy laws, but is believed to have been in the area where Madeleine McCann disappeared in Portugal 13 years ago.

He reportedly lived there between 1995 and 2007 and is suspected of burgling multiple flats and hotels, in addition to dealing drugs.


McCann went missing from Portugal's Algarve tourist area in 2007 at the age of three, while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant in the resort of Praia da Luz.

Clarence Mitchell, the family's legal representative throughout the ordeal, said he could not “recall an instance when the police had been so specific about an individual," adding that despite thousands of potential leads over the years, “there has never been something as clear cut as that from not just one, but three, police forces.”

The investigation into McCann's disappearance and suspected murder is being carried out by a joint task force consisting of German, British and Portuguese police.

While German prosecutors have been more definitive in their language, for now the British police are still treating it as a “missing person” case.


German investigators are due to give an update later, but are now classifying the investigation as a murder inquiry.

Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office has issued a public appeal for more information, saying: “There is reason to assume that there are other persons, apart from the suspect, who have concrete knowledge of the course of the crime and maybe also of the place where the body was left.”

The suspect has reportedly been sentenced to prison for child sexual abuse on numerous occasions in the past. Police also claim to have determined the method used to murder the young girl, though her body has never been recovered.

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding an unidentified second person who spoke with the suspect from a Portuguese phone number on May 3, 2007, at roughly the same time as the girl’s disappearance.


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