Public prosecutors in Braunschweig, Germany, are investigating a 43-year-old German citizen on suspicion of murder in connection with the disappearance of 3-year-old British girl Madeleine Beth McCann in May 2007, the Federal Criminal Police Office said in a statement on Wednesday.
The suspect is a sex offender with multiple convictions, who has also been convicted of sexual abuse of children. He is currently in prison for offenses unrelated to the McCann case.
The toddler disappeared while on holiday with her family at a resort in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve region of Portugal, in 2007 and has not been seen since despite extensive police investigations into her disappearance.
Between 1995 and 2007 the German suspect regularly lived in the Algarve region, including in a house between Lagos and Praia da Luz.
It is thought the suspect, who was not named by police, supplemented his income by criminal means, including carrying out burglaries in hotel complexes and holiday homes as well as selling drugs.
The prosecutor's office in Braunschweig — a city in northwestern Germany — is carrying out the investigation because the suspect's last registered address before going abroad was in the region. An investigation by German national broadcaster ZDF had led police to look into this suspect, reported AFP citing lead investigator Christian Hoppe.
German authorities are treating the toddler's disappearance as a murder investigation but Britain's Metropolitan Police has always considered the case a missing persons inquiry.
Kmm/stb (AP, dpa)
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