Fifteen years after the events that triggered an exceptional international media campaign, a new twist has occurred in the “Maddie affair”. The main suspect in the kidnapping and possible murder of three-year-old Madeleine Beth McCann, nicknamed Maddie, was indicted in Germany on Wednesday April 20, at the request of Portuguese justice.
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If the identity of the suspect has not been confirmed, this indictment comes as the German authorities claim to have information allowing them to suspect this man already detained in a prison in Kiel (northern Germany) for the rape of a 72-year-old American.
The German, 45-year-old multi-recidivist pedophile, lived in Praia da Luz, Portugal, between 1995 and 2007, the year of the girl’s abduction. The British McCann family spent their vacation in May 2007 with a group of friends in this seaside resort. This is where she disappeared on May 3, 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday.
The man is also targeted by multiple charges of rape, pedophilia, theft, falsification of documents and drug trafficking. According to his lawyer interviewed by the German daily Picture, “this measure is a procedural artifice aimed at preventing the prescription which threatens in a few days”.
According to Portuguese law, the statute of limitations for murder is 15 years. Without this indictment, this period would have been reached on May 3. Legal proceedings would therefore no longer have been possible thereafter.
A reopened case
At the time of the facts, the disappearance of Maddie had been around the world. An international media campaign had been launched to find the child. A site put online by the McCann family to help finance the research had managed to collect five million euros in 24 hours. In vain.
After more than a year of investigation, marred by controversy after accusations against Maddie’s parents who will themselves be indicted and the resignation of the chief investigator, the Portuguese police are closing the case. in 2008 for “lack of conclusive evidence”. Five years later, the file is reopened “after the appearance of new elements”said a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office, “with the cooperation of the English and German authorities”.
The case took a new turn in June 2020. The public prosecutor’s office in Brunswick, Germany, then announced that it was certain of Maddie’s death, turning its suspicions towards the multi-recidivist pedophile.