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The sex offender formally identified as a suspect in Madeleine McCann’s disappearance says he couldn’t have been responsible for her abduction because he was having sex when she vanished in 2007.
Portuguese prosecutors named German drifter Christian Brückner, 44, as a suspect in the British toddler’s disappearance in April, as previously reported. Now, Brückner is telling authorities he wasn’t near the Praia da Luz resort where the then-3-year-old was believed to have been kidnapped while vacationing with her family in Portugal.
Brückner – who is only named as “Christian B” due to Germany's privacy laws – says he was miles away, having sex in his camper van with a young German woman, Sky News reported on the 15th anniversary of McCann’s disappearance. If Brückner’s alibi checks out, the woman could potentially rule him out as a suspect.
Brückner told authorities he drove the mystery woman to the Faro airport one day after McCann’s disappearance and that they were stopped and photographed at a police roadblock. Faro is approximately 55 miles west of the Praia da Luz resort.
Brückner added that the woman was stopped and arrested at the airport for being in possession of pepper spray, resulting in her later appearance in court.
She was allegedly on holiday in Portugal with her parents.
According to Sky News, Brückner was able to identify the woman, though he failed to remember her full name in previous interviews.
British media outlets announced in 2020 that authorities began eyeing Brückner as a person of interest as early back as 2019. At the time of McCann’s disappearance, Brückner reportedly traveled around Portugal in a camper van and lived as a transient in and around the resort between 1995 and 2007.
German prosecutor Hans Wolters previously said that without McCann’s body – or proof that she was even murdered – it would be challenging to take Brückner to trial. Wolters has repeatedly voiced his belief that McCann is dead.
Brückner has not been officially charged with any crimes connected to McCann’s disappearance.
McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were nonetheless grateful that he was identified as a suspect, according to an April 22 statement.
“We welcome the news that the Portuguese authorities have declared a German man an 'arguido' in relation to the disappearance of our beloved daughter Madeleine,” they said. “This reflects progress in the investigation, being conducted by the Portuguese, German, and British authorities.”
“Arguido” is Portuguese for “named suspect.”
As previously reported, Brückner is currently serving a seven-year prison term in his native Germany for raping a 72-year-old American woman at the Praia da Luz resort back in 2005.
In 2019, a woman from Ireland identified Brückner as the man who sexually assaulted her at a Portuguese beach resort in 2004. That case is still under investigation.
Brückner has also been convicted of several sexual abuse crimes against children, dating back to 1994, according to the Guardian.
Investigators say they put Brückner near the McCann’s holiday apartment on the night of the girl’s disappearance when his cell phone pinged off a tower upon receiving a call between 7:31 p.m. and 8:02 p.m., according to Sky News. McCann – who was days away from her fourth birthday – is believed to have disappeared between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Brückner, however, insists he was already headed to Faro when someone snuck into the holiday apartment and abducted McCann.
A former lawyer for Brückner, who previously defended him for unrelated charges of fuel theft in 2006, referred to Brückner as a forthcoming man.
“If he really does have that alibi, he should work on that,” Serafim Vieira told Sky News. “What I know about him, he was a straight person, so if he says he has an alibi, that is possible.”
Kate and Gerry McCann, who’d been cleared of all suspicion, made a statement on the 15th anniversary of the child’s disappearance.
“Many people talk about the need for ‘closure.’ It’s always felt a strange term,” they said. “Regardless of [the] outcome, Madeleine will always be our daughter, and a truly horrific crime has been committed. These things will remain. It is true, though, that uncertainty created weakness. Knowledge and certainty give strength, and for this reason, our need for answers, for the truth, is essential.”
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