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It’s been 13 years since Madeleine McCann, age 3, vanished in Portugal during a family vacation.
The Metropolitan Police in London have announced that they have identified a prime suspect in the case.
London detectives are working with German authorities after identifying a man currently imprisoned in Germany as a suspect in the little girl’s disappearance.
The suspect is Caucasian, and in 2007, it is believed that he had short blonde hair, possibly fair.
He was about 6 feet tall and had a slim build. The man is now 43-years-old, and may have looked to be in his mid-20s or early 30s at the time of the disappearance.
“We have established that he lived on and off in the Algarve between 1995 and 2007,” said police. “He is connected to the area of Praia da Luz and surrounding regions, and spent some short spells in Germany.”
The man, whose name has not been shared, is currently in prison in Germany for an unrelated matter.
The investigation team is revealing details of two vehicles which the suspect is known to have had access to and used around the time of the disappearance.
The first vehicle is a distinctive VW T3 Westfalia campervan.
It is an early 1980s model, with two tone markings, a white upper body and a yellow skirting. It had a Portuguese registration plate.
Police say that the suspect had access to this van from at least April 2007 until sometime after May 2007. It was used in and around the area of Praia da Luz.
Police believe he was living in this van for days, possibly weeks, and may have been using it on May 3, 2007, the night Madeleine went missing.
Authorities are now appealing for anyone who may have seen the vehicle in Praia da Luz that night, the days before, or in the weeks following the disappearance.
The second vehicle police have identified is a 1993 British Jaguar, model XJR 6, with a German plate and registration.
This car is believed to have been in the Praia da Luz and surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007. The car was originally registered in the suspect’s name. On 4 May 2007, the day after Madeleine’s disappearance, the car was re-registered to someone else in Germany.
“To re-register the car in Germany you don’t have to have the car in the country or region,” explained police. “We believe the car was still in Portugal and would like information if you saw it.”
Both of these vehicles are now held by the German authorities.
Detectives are also appealing for information about two mobile phone numbers, one of which is believed to have been used by the suspect on the day of Madeleine’s disappearance.
The first number is +351 912 730 680. Extensive enquiries have led investigators to believe the suspect was using this number and received a call, starting at 7:32 pm and finishing at 8:02 pm on May 3, 2007. The call was received in the area of Praia da Luz.
The second mobile number is +351 916 510 683. This number is the phone number that made the call. Police say that they know the person was not in the area of Praia da Luz.
Investigators believe the person who made this call is a highly significant witness and they are appealing for them to come forward. Police are also asking that anyone who recognizes either number to speak to police.
“It’s more than 13 years since Madeleine went missing and none of us can imagine what it must be like for her family, not knowing what happened or where she is,” said Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell.
“Following the ten- year anniversary, the Met received information about a German man who was known to have been in and around Praia da Luz. We have been working with colleagues in Germany and Portugal and this man is a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.”
“While this male is a suspect we retain an open mind as to his involvement and this remains a missing person inquiry.”
The investigation team, Operation Orange, can be contacted at 0207 321 9251 or [email protected]