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Madeleine McCann suspect’s van examined for clues by German police

A collage of Christian Brueckner and Madeleine McCann.
A vehicle believed to driven by Christian Brueckner around the time Madeleine McCann disappeared is being examined (Picture: PA)

German investigators are examining a white van once driven by the prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Christian Brueckner is believed to have been behind the wheel of a Mercedes Sprinter van around the time the toddler vanished in Portugal 16 years ago.

A similar vehicle was found parked at a woodland site Brueckner owned in Germany, though investigators are not certain it is the one he owned.

Germany’s federal police force, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), are now swabbing the vehicle for clues in the hopes it could still contain DNA, The Sun reported.

A BKA source told the tabloid that investigators are ‘getting in touch’ with a Rosier dealership in Gartenstadt, Braunschweig, which leased the van to Brueckner between 2014 and 2015.

A dealership employee told The Olive Press that they are ‘fully aware of the name Brueckner and are happy to give the details to the police’.

The defendant Christian B. (M) stands next to his lawyers Dennis Bock (l) and Friedrich F??lscher (r) at the start of the trial in the Braunschweig district court. Christian B. is accused of three cases of aggravated rape and two cases of sexual abuse of children in Portugal. Investigators also suspect the German in the Maddie case. Where: Brunswick, Lower Saxony, Germany When: 16 Feb 2024 Credit: Julian Stratenschulte/DPA/Cover Images **All usages and enquiries, please contact - +44 (0)20 3397 3000ONLY AVAILABLE FOR PUBLICATION IN THE UK**
Brueckner has never been formally charged in connection to the youngster’s disappearance (Picture: Julian Stratenschulte/DPA/Cover)

She added: ‘We cleaned it and repaired it but it wouldn’t have been wiped of all DNA.’

The outlet reported that the van was found at a derelict box factory in Neuwegersleben where Brueckner lived on and off during the mid-2010s.

When searched by police, officers found 8,000 films and photographs containing child pornography stored on eight devices hidden inside a Lidl bag.

McCann vanished in 2007 while on vacation in the Algarve region of Portugal with her parents and siblings.

They had been staying at the seaside village of Praia da Luz when Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s parents, left their daughter with her siblings, two-year-old twins, at their holiday home to dine out at a nearby restaurant.

When Kate checked in on the children at around 10pm, Madeleine was gone.

Undated handout file photo of Madeleine McCann. A German prisoner has been identified as a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine, detectives have revealed. The Metropolitan Police have not named the man, 43, who is described as white with short blond hair, possibly fair, and about 6ft tall with a slim build. PA Photo. Issue date: Wednesday June 3, 2020. The German national is known to have been in and around Praia da Luz on the Algarve coast at the time Madeleine van-ished on May 3 2007 while on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and her twin siblings Sean and Amelie. See PA story POLICE Portugal. Photo credit should read: PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Madeleine vanished while her family were holidaying in Portugal (Picture: PA)

Brueckner, a sex offender, was named as the chief suspect in the case by German prosecutors in 2020. The authorities say he made a living working in restaurants, flogging used cars and dealing drugs.

He’s never been charged in connection with the case and he denies having any involvement in her disappearance.

Brueckner is currently in a German prison for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in her Praia da Luz home in 2005.

He is on trial for five unrelated charges, including three of rape, alleged to have been committed in Portugal between 2000 and 2017.

All the attacks took place close to where Madeleine vanished in Praia da Luz in May 2007, it is claimed.

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