Madeleine Beth McCann (born 12 May 2003) is a British girl who vanished from her bed in a holiday apartment in a resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on the evening of 3 May 2007. The disappearance was dubbed “the most heavily publicized missing-person case in contemporary history” by the Daily Telegraph. Madeleine’s whereabouts are unknown, notwithstanding German prosecutors’ belief that she is dead.
Madeleine was on vacation with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, her two-year-old twin siblings, and a group of family friends and their children from the United Kingdom. She and the twins were left in the ground-floor apartment at 20:30, while the McCanns and their guests dined 55 meters (180 feet) away.
The parents kept an eye on the kids all evening until Kate found Madeleine had gone away at 22:00. Over the next few weeks, the Portuguese police were convinced that Madeleine had died in an apartment accident and that her parents had covered it up, particularly after misinterpreting a British DNA analysis.
The McCanns were assigned arguido (suspect) status in September 2007, which was revoked when the case was archived in July 2008 due to a lack of evidence by Portugal’s attorney general.
Madeleine’s parents used private detectives to continue the search until Scotland Yard launched its own investigation, Operation Grange, in 2011. The senior investigating officer declared that the disappearance was the result of “a criminal act by a stranger,” most likely a botched kidnapping or burglary.
Scotland Yard distributed e-fit photographs of males they intended to track down in 2013, including one of a man taking a toddler toward the beach on the night Madeleine disappeared. Portuguese police reopened their investigation shortly after.
In 2015, Operation Grange was reduced back, but the remaining investigators continued to investigate a small number of key investigations.
In June 2020, police in Braunschweig, Germany, announced the discovery of a new suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.
The German public prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters was sure that paedophile Christian Brückner abducted and murdered the youngster, according to the Daily Mirror in October 2021.
Prosecutors in Germany intend to file accusations in 2022.
Madeleine’s abduction sparked widespread international interest and received extensive publicity in the United Kingdom, evoking memories of Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
Her parents were exposed to a great deal of scrutiny and unfounded accusations of complicity in their daughter’s death, particularly in the tabloid press and on Twitter.
The McCanns and their traveling companions were awarded damages and apologies by Express Newspapers in 2008, and the McCanns testified before the Leveson Inquiry into British press malpractice in 2011, adding credence to those advocating for tighter press regulation.
Who killed Madeleine McCann?
Prosecutors investigating the Madeleine McCann case have said they are certain suspect Christian Brueckner murdered her.