Madeleine McCann: What We Know About The Latest Suspect In Her Disappearance

The Madeleine McCann case has stumped teams of investigators and hordes of true crime junkies since the night she vanished while on vacation with her family in the resort town of Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007. Despite becoming what The Telegraph called "the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history," Madeleine, who was 3 years old when she disappeared, has never been found, and neither has her abductor. Nearly 14 years since she was taken from that vacation apartment while her parents ate dinner with friends nearby, investigators finally believe they are getting close to figuring out exactly what happened to her. And, as has been the case previously in the investigation, they're asking the public for help.

Suspects in the case have ranged from a neighbor in the same apartment complex in which the McCanns were staying to the parents themselves, but the truth behind Madeleine's disappearance has eluded investigators and the public for years. However, German authorities believe they may have the man responsible in custody, and as Variety reported, he is to be the subject of a new three-part documentary series on Discovery Plus, which will be released on the streaming platform in the U.S. later this year. Let's take a look at the latest suspect in the case and see if we can get some insight into the sad truth behind the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The latest suspect in the Madeleine McCann case was already in jail for other violent crimes

In June 2020, The New York Times reported that German authorities had a man in jail that they believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of Madeleine McCann. Identified as Christian B, the 43-year-old man was already serving a prison sentence for rape, and his criminal record is a long list of offenses like drug trafficking, burglary, child abuse, and sexual assault. A German newspaper reported that his record contained a list of 17 such crimes. He is known to have lived in and around Praia da Luz from 1995 to 2007, the year Madeleine went missing. He worked a number of jobs in the area, including as a caterer, and was also known to have broken into homes and hotel rooms and even dealt drugs there.

British and German authorities released a pair of photos of vehicles he used while living in Portugal: a Jaguar sedan and a Volkswagen van. They urged anyone with information related to the vehicles or Christian B's whereabouts on the day of the abduction to contact them. They are specifically hoping that the public can help them figure out what he was up to on May 3, 2007, between 9:10 p.m. and 10 p.m., the time when Madeleine was abducted. British investigators were first directed to the man after receiving a tip about him in 2017. Hopefully, with this new information and the case back in the public eye with the release of the Discovery Plus documentary, the mystery of Madeleine McCann's disappearance can finally be solved.

Madeleine McCann's parents were also suspects in her disappearance

Not long after their daughter's disappearance, both the public and the Portuguese police began to suspect Gerry and Kate McCann as the ones responsible for the crime. According to The Sunday Times, journalists in Portugal began reporting that the McCanns had entered into a "pact of silence" with the friends with whom they had been eating dinner that night. Rumors that they were all swingers who drugged their kids in order to conduct sex parties began to be circulated by tabloids. 

The Australian Broadcasting Company reports that the Portuguese police soon began to suspect them, as well. They claimed that the dogs they sent to the Praia da Luz apartment and their rental car had detected blood 13 separate times. The McCanns were brought in for questioning, but never charged with anything. The British tabloids had a field day with the rumors, constantly printing unverified claims that the parents were responsible, as editors found that a simple front page photo of Madeleine could boost their sales by the tens of thousands. They particularly hounded Kate, who they claimed appeared "cold and unemotional" in public appearances.

In 2008, some of the papers responsible for such vicious rumors printed formal apologies and paid a hefty settlement in a libel case the McCanns had filed against them. The BBC reported that tabloids printed by Express had paid the family £550,000, which was donated to the Find Madeleine campaign. The paper admitted that it had published such claims with "no evidence whatsoever" and that the parents were "completely innocent" of their daughter's disappearance.