'Concrete evidence' that Madeleine McCann is dead: German prosecutor
Berlin (AFP) - German prosecutors said on Wednesday that they had "concrete evidence" that the missing British girl Madeleine McCann was dead. This is an important development for a case that Britain has been dealing with for more than a decade.
The authorities in Germany made the astonishing discovery in early June that they were investigating a 43-year-old suspect for her disappearance and believed that he had killed her.
"It is concrete evidence, facts that we have, not mere indications," Braunschweig prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters told AFP, adding that he could not reveal any precise information.
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"We have no forensic evidence of Madeleine's death, such as a body," he added.
The three year old "Maddie" disappeared from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.
Despite a large search, no trace of her was found, and no one was charged with her disappearance.
The 43-year-old suspect, who was identified as Christian B. by the German media and not identified by the police, has a history of previous sexual assault, including child sexual assault and rape.
He is currently serving a sentence for drug trafficking in Kiel.
- letter sent -
Wolters said the German authorities wrote to Madeleine's family, but refused to provide details of the content of the letter.
He also confirmed that Christian B. has applied to be released on parole early after two thirds of the sentence.
However, Wolters said the suspect would not be released from custody pending trial of an older woman rape in Portugal.
Last December, a court in Braunschweig had sentenced Christian B. to seven years in prison for attacking 72-year-old American tourists in 2005 - in the same coastal town of Praia da Luz where Maddie was missing.
However, the judgment is not final until the delivery techniques are completed.
During the trial for this case, two witnesses said they had found a gun, video cameras, and several tapes from Christian B. in Portugal, according to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that cited court documents.
One of them later looked at a few shots and saw a man raping an older woman who was tied to a bed.
- cold cases -
Madeleine was missing in her family's vacation rental on May 3, 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday, when her parents were dining with friends in a nearby tapas bar.
According to the police, Christian B. lived in the Algarve in Portugal between 1995 and 2007.
He made his living by doing odd jobs in the area Madeleine was brought to, and also broke in hotel rooms and apartments.
The police believe that at the time of the kidnapping, he was living in a white Westfalia motorhome with a yellow bar, and she is keen that witnesses who remember seeing the vehicle back then come forward.
Christian B. was not consulted and his lawyers say he has refused to speak about the case so far.
The recent development in Maddie's case has prompted European investigators to reopen several cold cases with missing children.
In Germany, prosecutors search the files to determine whether the suspect has anything to do with the disappearance of a five-year-old girl named Inga from the city of Schönebeck in Saxony-Anhalt in 2015.
The Belgian authorities announced that they had resumed an investigation into the murder of the German teenager Carola Titze (16) in the resort of De Haan on the Belgian coast in 1996.
And in Portugal, the stepfather of the missing eight-year-old girl, Joana Cipriano, asked the authorities to investigate possible connections.
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