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WATCH: Portugal Names Convicted Child Rapist as Official Madeleine McCann Suspect

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It’s been 15 years since three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann went missing while she and her family were on vacation in Portugal. Despite an international effort to find the missing child and to catch her abductor, police have not, until now, been able to formally identify anyone as an official suspect in the case.

Christian Brueckner, 43, is a convicted pedophile and rapist who was living close to the Algarve resort where Maddie had disappeared from. The little girl was taken from the family’s hotel room on the evening of May 3, 2007, while her parents were having dinner with friends at a nearby tapas bar. She was never seen again.

Although cops have had Brueckner on their radar for some time, as the German national has a string of serious sex offenses to his name and around 17 prior convictions, including the rape and assault of a six-year-old girl, until now, Portuguese cops have not formally labelled him as a suspect.

A Sky News source said:

“The legal grounds for making [Brueckner] an arguido include the fact that he allegedly confessed to a friend he had snatched Madeleine and mobile phone records placed him in Praia da Luz the night she vanished.”

Brueckner is currently behind bars in a German prison for raping an elderly American woman in her home but was only formally questioned about the most notorious child abduction in history by detectives this week.

The convicted pedophile was asked: “Where were you on the night Madeleine McCann disappeared?” and, “If you weren’t by the apartment she disappeared from that night, where were you?” He declined to answer any questions and used his right to remain silent.

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Portuguese detectives then issued Brueckner with an “arguido” which means he has been formally identified as an official suspect and generally means the individual will be formally charged with the crime. A major breakthrough for the case and Madeleine’s family.

Gerry and Kate McCann, who are both doctors, made a public statement in which they said they welcome the progress in the case and above all else, hope they will eventually be reunited with Maddie:

This reflects progress in the investigation, being conducted by the Portuguese, German and British authorities. We are kept informed of developments by the Metropolitan Police,” said the McCanns.

It is important to note that the arguido has not yet been charged with any specific crime related to Madeleine’s disappearance.

“Even though the possibility may be slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive, and we will be reunited with her.”

According to Daily Mail reports, police are in the process of taking DNA samples from Brueckner’s VW camper in relation to the McCann abduction and more evidence is continually coming to light about the sick pedophile’s grizzly offenses and further unsolved crimes which police suspect he may have been involved in.

These cases include the sexual assault of two little girls on a beach and two further unsolved rape cases:

“These two rape cases are from evidence provided at Brueckner’s trial in 2019 from two witnesses who said they found footage on a video camera of him attacking these two women.

“We have not been able to identify either of the victims,” said Hans-Christian Wolters from the Brunswick prosecutor’s office in Germany.

The footage found by two friends, which has since disappeared, allegedly showed a masked man whipping and raping an elderly woman as she begged for help in Italian. According to the friends, when the attacker removed his mask at the end of the video, it was clearly Brueckner.

The friends say another clip showed a young German woman tied to a wooden beam and begging to be freed.

The case continues.