New Information Revealed on the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Bella Martin, Sports Editor

On May 3, 2007, Madeleine McCann vanished from her family’s hotel room in Praia da Luz, Portugal. The disappearance sparked an international manhunt and has become one of the biggest missing child investigations in history.

On the night of her disappearance, Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, left three-year-old Madeleine and their two other children sleeping in their room while they had dinner with their friends next door. About an hour and a half into the dinner, the parents went to check on the kids, only to find Madeleine missing. 

Immediately after her disappearance, Portuguese officials began to search for suspects in the surrounding areas. In the following weeks, they attempted to gather as much intel into the events as possible. Since the McCann’s are from the United Kingdom, British officials also got involved, resulting in an international manhunt. 

Almost 14 years after the start of this case, forensic analysts, international police and true crime fans alike have remained invested in figuring out what truly happened on that night in Portugal. Countless documentaries, podcasts and true crime television shows about the case have also come out on Netflix, Hulu and other streaming platforms, keeping Madeleine’s name in the headlines. 

After more than a decade searching for suspects, a German sex offender named Christian Brueckner went under investigation in June 2020 by Portuguese, British and German officials. 

Brueckner lived in and around Praia da Luz, Portugal at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance. Brueckner is currently serving a sentence in German prison for several unrelated sex and drug charges. 

On Feb. 26, CBS News released a segment on “48 Hours” called “The Puzzle, Solving the Madeleine McCann Case,” which gives new information on the suspect. Brueckner reportedly told a friend that he “had information” about Madeleine. Apart from being a convicted sex offender, Portuguese officials also found out that Brueckner often robbed hotel rooms—this could possibly explain how Brueckner encountered Madeleine. In the days following McCann’s disappearance, he also canceled his car payments and returned to Germany.  

German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters and German crime and intelligence analyst Mark Hoffman also confirmed during the segment that Brueckner’s cell phone pinged to a location near the McCann’s hotel room on the night of May 3, 2007. However, officials still have to confirm that Brueckner was the one using the phone that night. 

The segment’s biggest detail revealed information about a USB drive found in an abandoned warehouse in Germany that leads back to the suspect. The USB reportedly contains pictures and videos of child abuse and lewd images of children. The segment did not specify whether pictures of Madeleine existed on the USB or not. 

Even with this evidence, experts say that the authorities may not have enough to convict Brueckner of McCann’s abduction and potential murder. More information is expected to come out surrounding the case and the suspect as officials discover more evidence.