A stunning revelation discovered by a German team of investigative journalists has put the prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in the very resort from which she disappeared.
Convicted pedophile Christian Brueckner, who has emerged as the only suspect in the 15-year-old cold case, worked as a handy man at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz in the spring of 2007, according to the German documentary New Leads in the Maddie Case which will air on Monday evening in Europe.
A producer on the show confirmed to The Daily Beast that they have handed over reams of investigative material to to German and Portuguese investigators that show Brueckner “repeatedly carried out repair work” in the Algarve resort and was in town when the McCanns spent their holiday there.
McCann disappeared from a bedroom in the holiday rental apartment where she was sleeping with her twin siblings just shy of her 4th birthday while her parents dined at a nearby tapas bar with friends. The couples had taken turns checking on the children and the time frame between checks in which McCann disappeared was less than an hour, implying that whoever nabbed her was familiar with the property.
McCann’s parents were initially suspected by Portuguese authorities, which many believe led to the real perpetrator’s escape. They were eventually cleared in the case and went on to successfully sue a police investigator who wrote a book claiming their involvement.
A spokesperson for the documentary said they had carried out a reconstruction of the evening and Brueckner would have easily had time to snatch the child. The public prosecutor in Germany, where Brueckner is serving a jail sentence for raping a 72-year-old American woman at a resort in Portugal, was also interviewed. “We are grateful to the SAT.1 team for sharing certain findings with the public prosecutor's office,” he says in the documentary, according to a clip. “There are witnesses who might prefer to speak to the media than to us or the police. If this produces any ideas we will of course follow these up.”
Investigators have homed in on Brueckner, 45, since evidence including a child’s toy bucket was found buried in his back yard in 2020. Police first identified him as a potential suspect in the case in 2017 when it emerged he was living in an R.V. when she disappeared and phone records tie him to the Praia da Luz area the night she was abducted. He maintains his innocence and continues to write to journalists—including the German documentary makers—who will share his letters on the program Monday.
An excerpt from the program says one of the letters contains a bizarre rant about his innocence. “Where possible, only drive during the day so my battered ‘hippy bus’ didn’t attract attention, only driving on roads I needed to and, most importantly, never provoking the police,” he wrote, according to the excerpt. “So, that means not committing any crimes, certainly not abducting anyone. Having said that, this was just as absurd to me at the time as starting a nuclear war or slaughtering a chicken.”
German and Portuguese police continue to investigate the case supported by the British government’s Operation Grange which has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds investigating the case, citing no “definitive evidence whether she is alive or dead.”