Police identify new suspect in 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Madeleine Mccann 1280
A picture released by the McCann family on May 24, 2007 shows missing British girl Madeleine McCann on May 3, 2007.
Family Photo/AFP/Getty Images

British police officers investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have identified a new suspect, in what they described as a “significant new line of enquiry,” 13 years after the three year-old vanished in Portugal.

McCann vanished while sleeping in her family’s holiday apartment on May 3, 2007, in a case that has since gained widespread media attention in the UK. She has never been found, and no one has ever been charged over her disappearance.

The new suspect is a German man currently imprisoned in Germany over an unrelated matter, the UK’s Metropolitan Police force said.

The force did not identify the man but described him as a 43-year-old white man. He lived periodically in southern Portugal’s Algarve region between 1995 and 2007, when McCann disappeared.

“He is connected to the area of Praia da Luz and surrounding regions, and spent some short spells in Germany,” the police statement said.

“It’s more than 13 years since Madeleine went missing and none of us can imagine what it must be like for her family, not knowing what happened or where she is,”

“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. We have been working with colleagues in Germany and Portugal and this man is a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance,” Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell said in a statement Wednesday.

The police also revealed details of two cars linked to the suspect around the time of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

“The first vehicle is a distinctive VW T3 Westfalia campervan. It is an early 1980s model, with two tone markings, a white upper body and a yellow skirting. It had a Portuguese registration plate,” the statement said.

“The suspect had access to this van from at least April 2007 until sometime after May 2007. It was used in and around the area of Praia da Luz.”

“The second vehicle is a 1993 British Jaguar, model XJR 6, with a German number plate and registered in Germany,” the statemnt adds

“This car is believed to have been in the Praia da Luz and surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007. The car was originally registered in the suspect’s name. On 4 May 2007, the day after Madeleine’s disappearance, the car was re-registered to someone else in Germany.”

The detectives asked the public to come forward with any information on the vehicles and on two mobile phone numbers, one of which is believed to have been used by the suspect on the day of Madeleine’s disappearance.

There is a £20,000 (about $25,000) police reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible.