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New Suspect In Madeleine McCann Case Identified As German Sex Offender Who Traveled Portugal In Camper Van

A German man who has previously been convicted for sexual crimes against girls has been named as a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, who vanished in 2007.

By Gina Tron
5 Things to Know About the Madeleine McCann Case

An incarcerated German man has been named a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, one of the world’s most famous missing persons cases.

The British toddler vanished on May 3, 2007 while on vacation with her family in Portugal’s Praia da Luz on the Algarve coast, only a few days before her 4th birthday. Her disappearance is called "the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history” by The Telegraph in 2008.

Now, 13 years later, it appears there may be major progress in the case. A 43-year-old German man who apparently traveled around Portugal in a camper van at the time of McCann’s vanishing has been labeled a suspect, the BBC reports

Investigators hinted that a foreign man was being eyed as a possible suspect last year, Portugal’s Sky News reported. The German citizen called a suspect this week is currently imprisoned in Germany for a sexual crime, according to the Associated Press. He has previous convictions for sexual contact with girls.

The suspect was in and around the Praia da Luz resort area when McCann vanished, according to the Associated Press. He reportedly was driving a camper van around the area while living a transient lifestyle. He also drove a Jaguar at the time, which he transferred into someone else's name the day after McCann vanished, the BBC reports. Scotland Yard is asking the public for more information about both vehicles as well as the suspect.

"Someone out there knows a lot more than they're letting on," Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell said following the identification of the new suspect, according to the BBC.

He believes that the suspect may have confided in someone about details related to the case.

"Some people will know the man we're describing today [...] you may be aware of some of the things he's done," he said. "He may have confided in you about the disappearance of Madeleine.”

Cranwell urged anyone with information to pass along any relevent information.

“More than 13 years have passed and your loyalties may have changed," he said. "Now is the time to come forward."

Investigators were tipped off about the German suspect in 2017 after fresh information was discovered about him, despite the fact that he was one of 600 previous people looked at by detectives on the case. 

He’s described as white with short, blond hair and a slim build. He would have been 30 at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were initially targeted as suspects by the Portuguese police — making them and the case tabloid fodder — but the parents were cleared of any suspicion in 2008. They said their daughter was abducted from her bed while they were having dinner with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.