Madeleine McCann: disappearance, formal suspect,found

Madeleine Beth McCann is a British child who disappeared in 3 May 2007 from her bed in a holiday apartment at a resort in Praia da Luz.

Madeleine McCann: disappearance, formal suspect,found

The Daily Telegraph described the disappearance as “the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history”.

Madeleine McCann: disappearance, formal suspect,found

Madeleine Beth McCann

12 May 2003
Leicester, Leicestershire, England, UK
Disappeared 3 May 2007 (aged 3)
5A Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, Praia da Luz, Algarve, Portugal
37.08866°N 8.73084°W
Status Missing for 14 years, 11 months and 18 days
Height 90 cm (2 ft 11 in)

Madeleine’s whereabouts remain unknown, although German prosecutors believe she is dead.

Madeleine was on holiday from the United Kingdom with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann; her two-year-old twin siblings; and a group of family friends and their children.

She and the twins had been left asleep at 20:30 in the ground-floor apartment, while the McCanns and friends dined in a restaurant 55 metres (180 ft) away.

Madeleine McCann disappearance 

Kate had intended to check on the children at 21:30, but Matthew Oldfield, one of the Tapas Seven, offered to do it when he checked on his own children in the apartment next door to 5A.

He noticed that the McCanns’ children’s bedroom door was wide open, but after hearing no noise, he left 5A without looking far enough into the bedroom to see whether Madeleine was there.

So He could not recall whether the bedroom window and its exterior shutter were open at this point. Early on in the investigation, Portuguese police accused Oldfield of involvement because he had volunteered to do the check, suggesting to them that he had handed Madeleine to someone through the bedroom window.

Kate made her own check of 5A at around 22:00. Scotland Yard stated in 2013 that Madeleine was probably taken moments before this.

Kate recalled entering the apartment through the unlocked patio doors at the back and noticing that the children’s bedroom door was wide open. When she tried to close the door, it slammed shut as though there was a draught, which is when she saw that the bedroom window and its shutter were open. Madeleine’s Cuddle Cat and blanket were still on the bed, but Madeleine was gone. After briefly searching the apartment, Kate ran back towards the restaurant, screaming, “Madeleine’s gone! Someone’s taken her!”

Formal suspect 

It is the first time Portuguese prosecutors have identified an official suspect in the case since Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s parents, were named suspects in 2007. They were later cleared.

Madeleine disappeared from her bedroom on May 3, 2007 during a family holiday in the Algarve region while her parents were dining with friends nearby in the resort of Praia da Luz.

Prosecutors in Faro, Algarve’s main city, did not publicly name the man but said in a statement he was identified as a suspect by German authorities at their request.

German police said in June 2020 that Madeleine was assumed dead and that convicted child abuser and drug trader Christian Brueckner was likely responsible for it.

But, since then, Brueckner, 45, has not been charged with any crime related to the disappearance. He is behind bars in Germany for raping a woman in the same area of the Algarve region where Madeleine went missing in 2007.


Madeleine was last seen napping in her family’s vacation rental during a trip in May 2007. Her parents were eating at a restaurant just a few feet away but when they went to check on their daughter she was gone.

Madeleine McCann: disappearance, formal suspect,found

The closest the case came to being solved centered around a German handyman named Christian Bruckner. Bruckner worked as a handyman at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, where the McCanns were staying.

A documentary re-created the scene the night Madeleine vanished and claimed Bruckner would have easily been able to kidnap the little girl.

“There is sufficient significance, in terms of the consistent features amongst the offense, which makes us believe they are connected,” said Andy Redwood, the chief inspector of Scotland Yard.

Filmmakers also combed through phone records, showing Bruckner was no more than five minutes away from the resort when Madeleine went missing.

Bruckner was first named a potential suspect in 2017 and later became the only remaining suspect in the case after investigators found a child’s toy bucket in his backyard.

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