BERLIN • German prosecutors are checking if the man suspected of murdering British girl Madeleine McCann might also be linked to the disappearance of another child in Germany, media reports have said.
Police revealed last week that they are investigating a 43-year-old German convict with a long criminal history over the disappearance of three-year-old “Maddie” from the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.
The suspect, named as Christian B. by German media, has a history of previous sex offences including child abuse and rape.
Prosecutors are examining if the man could be linked to the disappearance of a five-year-old girl named Inga from the town of Schoenebeck in Saxony-Anhalt in 2015, national news agency DPA and regional broadcaster MDR said on Friday.
Inga vanished without a trace in the woods while on an outing with her family.
According to local newspaper Magdeburger Volksstimme, the suspect owned a property in the area and was there around the period when she went missing.
Now, 13 years after Madeleine disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment on May 3, 2007, German prosecutors have appealed for information regarding the suspect. They believe he had killed the girl.
Madeleine disappeared a few days before her fourth birthday as her parents dined with friends at a nearby tapas bar.
The tragedy sparked one of the biggest searches of its kind then.
After Madeleine’s disappearance, her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, mounted a global manhunt that included appeals for help from British celebrities such as soccer star David Beckham and author J.K. Rowling, and promised millions in reward for information leading to the arrest of her abductor.
But the efforts went nowhere.
An initial Portuguese police investigation failed to produce any concrete leads and only added to the confusion by naming Madeleine’s parents as suspects, drawing widespread criticism.
The Brunswick prosecutor’s office said last Thursday that investigators are working on the assumption that Madeleine is dead.
The suspect is serving a prison sentence for drug trafficking.
He has completed almost two-thirds of his sentence and the authorities are close to a decision on his possible release on probation, according to documents from Germany’s Federal Court of Justice seen by the Agence France-Presse.
However, that decision depends on the outcome of another case against him concerning the rape of a 72-year-old American tourist in 2005, in the same town where Madeleine went missing.
Citing official investigation documents, Spiegel magazine on Friday published chilling extracts of a chat between the suspect and a friend in 2013. Christian B. told an acquaintance he wanted to “capture something small and use it for days on end”, the report said.
In response to the suggestion that this was dangerous, he allegedly replied: “Oh, if the evidence – afterwards – is destroyed.”
The McCanns declined to be interviewed so as to allow the focus to remain on the police request for more information. Their spokesman said the couple had “never given up hope” that their daughter may be found alive, “but they are realistic”.
“They say that whatever the outcome of this particular line of investigation… they do need to know what happened to their daughter to find peace and to bring whoever’s responsible to justice,” he added.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES