Madeleine McCann: A timeline of key dates and developments
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Madeleine went missing when she was three years old, while her family were on holiday in Portugal in 2007. Speaking last night (Tuesday), as Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry gathered with neighbours to mark the occasion with a vigil, Hans Christian Wolters, spokesperson for the public prosecutor’s office in Braunchweig said officers had uncovered “new evidence”.
It came as he was being questioned about alleged forensic evidence that would have tied their suspect, Christian B, to Madeleine’s disappearance.
Convicted rapist and child sexual abuser Christian B was identified as the prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance by German investigators in June 2020.
They believe he is responsible for the killing of Maddie. Christian B has always denied all allegations in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Speaking to Portuguese journalist Sandra Felgueiras, who has documented the case for years, on CMTV, Mr Wolters commented that “the fact that Christian B is now a suspect in Portugal shows everyone that we are not on the wrong way.”
Following the disclosure that new unrelated charges are soon to be brought against Christian B for his other alleged crimes, he said that papers would soon be served regarding the alleged rape of an Irish tourism rep.
During the interview, Mr Wolters was asked where the investigation had gone two years after naming Christian B as their suspect – an investigation which has still yet to bring a charge.
Mr Wolters responded: “The investigation is still going on, and I think we have found some new facts, some new evidence – not forensic evidence, but evidence.”
Ms Felgueiras then probed the investigators on whether they had found any evidence of something belonging to Madeleine in Christian B’s campervan – which he is believed to have used for drug dealing while in the Algarve.
It follows speculation that fibres that may have come from the pyjamas Maddie was wearing the night she disappeared could have been found in the van.
Mr Wolters said that he could not pass comment on “the details of the investigation”, before being questioned on whether he could deny it. The German spokesperson replied: “I don’t want to deny it”.
Recent reports suggest Christian B has given an alibi for the night of May 3 that year to a documentary team, however prosecutors in Braunschweig dismissed the claim, stating that his legal representation had not formally submitted an alibi.
In spite of this, Portuguese prosecutors recently named Christian B as an “arguido”, or formal suspect, in their investigation into Maddie’s disappearance – a confluence of opinions which Mr Wolters believes suggests investigators are heading in the right direction.
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The day after Madeleine disappeared, the suspect is said to have transferred his Jaguar car to someone else’s name. Police have also uncovered phone records that appeared to place him in the Praia da Luz area on the evening of Madeleine’s disappearance.
Mr Wolters was asked if the phone call – said to have been made on the evening Maddie disappeared, lasting around half an hour – could have been made to Nicole Fehlinger, a woman who in January revealed herself as Christian B’s then-lover.
He said: “We checked everything. We heard about it, that the number could be a number of Nicole Fehlinger, but we checked it and at the moment we don’t think this is real.”
Mr Wolters added: “We are still searching [for] the person who called him by phone [that day]”.
After reportedly being denied parole last month, Christian B is now facing new, unrelated charges that would allow the authorities to keep him in prison while investigations are ongoing. Mr Wolters revealed last month that charges were expected to be announced by the end of May.
Speaking to the Sun yesterday, Mr Wolters shed light on one of those cases prosecutors hope to bring.
The paper claimed that Christian B will be served papers regarding his alleged rape of Hazel Behan, who claims she was raped in 2004 in a manner similar to the rape of a 70-year-old woman, for which Christian B has already been charged.
Mr Wolters told the Sunday Times on Monday that this could happen “in the next three months”.
German investigators are treating the case as a murder investigation, whereas the Metropolitan Police maintain it is a missing persons case.
In the interview, Mr Wolter said “we are sure he is the murderer of Madeleine McCann”, but refused to comment on whether they believed Christian B had kidnapped the young girl.
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