Hans Christian Wolters, who is investigating the case, told Portuguese broadcaster CMTV on Tuesday that investigators had found “new evidence” that connects Brückner, who is a convicted rapist and child sex abuser, to the child’s disappearance. Brückner is yet to be charged.
“The investigation is still going, and I think we found some new facts, some new evidence, not forensic evidences, but some evidence,” Wolters told the broadcaster.
“We are sure he is the murderer of Madeleine McCann,” he said.
Wolters was speaking on the 15th anniversary of the disappearance of Madeline — who was also affectionately known by the name Maddie — from a holiday resort in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve region, on May 3, 2007.
She went missing from a hotel room during the evening, while her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were dining at a nearby restaurant.
Searching for the truth
Last month, Portuguese and German officials named Brückner, who is German but lived in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007, as an official suspect.
It was in 2020 that prosecutors first said that they suspected Brückner — who due to German privacy laws they refer to as Christian B — had been involved in Madeline’s disappearance. They said at the time they believed the child was dead.
It was the first time Portuguese prosecutors identified a formal suspect in the case since clearing Kate and Gerry McCann, who were initially named as suspects in 2007.
In a statement published on April 22, after Portuguese and German officials named Brückner as the official suspect in the case, Kate and Gerry McCann said they “welcomed” the news, as it indicated “progress” in the investigation.
“Even though the possibility may be slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive and we will be reunited with her,” the couple said on the website set up in their search for Madeleine.
Brückner, who is 45, had previously said he had been with his then-girlfriend during the whole night on which Madeleine went missing, but Wolters told CMTV he had “no alibi.”
When asked if his team of investigators had found “something belonging to Maddie” in Brückner’s caravan, where he lived at the time, Wolters said he couldn’t comment on any details, but added: “I don’t want to deny it.”
Brückner is currently in jail in Germany for raping a woman in the same area of the Algarve region where Madeleine went missing in 2007.
He has been connected to a string of other crimes. According to documents seen by Reuters, he burgled hotels and holiday flats, and was also caught stealing diesel from a Portuguese harbor and falsifying passports.
CNN’s Benjamin Brown, Vasco Cotovio, Jack Guy and Fred Pleitgen contributed to this story.