16 years without Madeleine McCann: massive search operation, red herrings and her last photo

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Madeleine McCann. His name says it all. Even your photo. Everyone remembers the image of that girl with blond hair, a sweet gaze and a particular – and unmistakable – expression placed on the iris.

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The whole world knows his story. A story that, due to its drama, has become “viral” in times when social networks were just emerging; an unsolved police case that continues to generate controversy like no other. And that has been reactivated in the last few hours with a gigantic police operation in Portugal.

Portuguese police divers today began an intense search in the Arade reservoir, located 50 kilometers from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007 when she was three years old.

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The photo of Madeleine, with her characteristic spot on the eye, has been around the world.

The photo of Madeleine, with her characteristic spot on the eye, has been around the world.

In a new phase of the operation, according to Portuguese and British media reports, the British police have also joined, under the direction of the German police.

According to information from the Portuguese and British media, the objective of the operation is to find evidence that can link the disappearance of the British girl with the German citizen Christian Brueckner, who was officially declared a suspect by Portuguese prosecutors in 2022.

Police from three countries raid the area of ​​Arade, Portugal.  Photo: AFP

Police from three countries raid the area of ​​Arade, Portugal. Photo: AFP

Madeleine McCann case: an unsolved enigma

16 years ago, the May 3, 2007, Maddy -as she was affectionately called- slept in apartment 5A of the Ocean Club complex, in Praia da Luz, Portugal. She shared a room with her brothers. he was 3 years old; twins Sean and Amelie, 2.

His parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, had dinner with friends inside “Tapas”the restaurant of the resort, about 50 meters from the room. They had arrived there around 8:40pm and every 20 minutes they would take turns going to check on them and make sure everything was ok.

At around 10pm, after one of those visits, the little girl’s mother came back to the table crying and screaming. “They Got Her”he repeated over and over again.

Police operation this Tuesday 23 in Portugal.  Photo: AFP

Police operation this Tuesday 23 in Portugal. Photo: AFP

The long-awaited and dreamed of family vacation had turned into a nightmare. From which they have not been able to wake up until now.

Since that precise moment, everything has become a skein of conflicting versionssuspects, red herrings and conspiracy theories that have even blamed Madeleine’s parents for killing her.

THE numbers they speak for themselves. As part of the investigations, about 600 interrogations, more than 2,000 police investigations, 500 searches in the area where the accident took place and almost 10,000 “sightings” of the girl around the planet were carried out.

The Praia da Luz complex where little Madeleine McCann disappeared.  Photo: AFP

The Praia da Luz complex where little Madeleine McCann disappeared. Photo: AFP

However, despite the efforts of the Portuguese and British police officersthe case could never be solved, And the conundrum about what happened to Madeleine McCann – who would have been 19 today – still persists.

Madeleine McCann case: theories, suspicions and endless conjectures

Uncertainty, desperation, -at least- inefficient police officers and the constant siege of the press that demanded more and more, formed a dangerous combo which, from the outset, conspired against the investigation.

First, it was said that a man who would take the child in his bear pajamas wrapped in a striped blanket. Soon, that man had a first and last name: Roberto Murat.

Search for Maddie's remains, this Tuesday in Portugal.  Photo: AP

Search for Maddie’s remains, this Tuesday in Portugal. Photo: AP

Everything focused on that divorced who lived with his mother near the complex, which he barely saw his daughter (similar in age to Madeleine) and, as he was fluent in both languages, offered himself as a translator for the McCanns. Neither the house records nor the various interviews that were conducted with him led to nothing.

Another clue has arrived in this whirlwind Tongeren, a small city in Belgium. The case has crossed borders and spread.

Maddie's parents, at a conference in 2012. Photo: AP

Maddie’s parents, at a conference in 2012. Photo: AP

There, a waitress reported that she believed she saw Madeleine in a café being led away by a couple. The analysis of the remains of a milkshake that the girl brought there is strong: it wasn’t his DNA.

The same thing happened to dozens of places. The girl was seen in Argentina, Morocco, Malta… False leads and rumors that only filled the pages of newspapers and minutes of television, but led nowhere.

THE theories they kept multiplying and, at the same time, getting entangled in meaningless labyrinths.

The most popular hypothesis about what happened that night is linked to parental responsibility of Madeleine, a medical couple from Leicester, Great Britain.

The controversial former commissioner Gonçalo Amaral defends it, the chief investigatorwho was removed from the case five months after the child’s disappearance because criticized Scotland Yard.

His controversial (and implausible) version claims that Madeleine died because of him parents gave him a sleeping pill so she wouldn’t wake up while they were in the restaurant.

According to what he published in his book Maddie, the truth of the lie, they would have exceeded the dose and then disposed of the body with the help of the British intelligence service, MI5. Eventually, they faked a kidnapping to cover their responsibility.

Gerry and Kate McCann have been formally investigated by the Portuguese authorities, but were eventually exempted from Lack of evidence. Today they continue to demand that the case be clarified.

Kate and Gerry McCann keep calling for the case to be cleared up.  Photo: AP

Kate and Gerry McCann keep calling for the case to be cleared up. Photo: AP

Another line of research -with a certain weight in public opinion- is the one that supports it Maddy era kidnapped by an international pedophile ring.

Giuliano Peribanez, the Spanish private detective who worked for the McCanns, is the leading defender of this position. For him – he claimed in the Netflix series on the case – the girl could be alive in South America.

Madeleine McCann case: who is Christian Brüeckner

Despite the continuous failure of all the lines they faced, the researchers never gave up their work.

Thus, in 2020, the German police identified a suspected. A man German who, in 2007, lived in a trailer near the site of the kidnapping. He is currently in prison in his country of him with a conviction for sexual abuse.

the register of Christian Brückner (45) is terrifying. Pedophile, rapist, trafficker and thief are just some of the charges that appear among his 17 criminal records. For the authorities today he is the main suspect.

Brueckner lived in the Algarve region of Portugal between 1995 and 2007. He arrived there as a backpacker and, although he worked in car trading and as a waiter, he was also involved in theft.

Christian Brückner (45), the German suspected of kidnapping Madeleine McCann.

Christian Brückner (45), the German suspected of kidnapping Madeleine McCann.

His description and physical appearance match “a blond man prowling the beach” at that moment and suddenly, according to several witnesses, disappeared.

Brueckner is in prison in Kiel, in his country. He is weighed down by a conviction for drug possession dating back to 2011 and another for rape of a 72-year-old American woman, in the Algarve region in 2005, two years before the McCann case.

The “fake Madeleine McCann”: the young women who believe they are the missing child

A few months ago, Julia Wendell, a 21-year-old Polish girl, announced this on her networks I thought I was Madeleine McCann. Although her family rejected the idea from the beginning and the police ruled out the possibility, she did a DNA test.

The result was negative: Julian Maddy. However, she wasn’t the only one who championed that idea.

Julia Wendell, the young Polish woman who claimed to be Madeleine McCann.  Photo: social networks

Julia Wendell, the young Polish woman who claimed to be Madeleine McCann. Photo: social networks

The first girl who had some relevance claiming to be Maddy It was a A Swedish girl named Embla Jauhorjärvi. The young woman lived on the streets of Rome and she claimed to be British and her name was Mary. The media have linked the cases.

Quickly, her father came out to deny the news saying his daughter had the Asperger’s syndrome and that he ran away from home months ago.

In 2017, Harriet Brookea university student from Manchester, claimed to have the same spot on Madeleine’s iris.

“Guys, I don’t usually believe in conspiracy theories, but I honestly think I’m Madeleine McCann. I’m Madeleine McCann and I don’t know what to do with myself.“, Brookes counted on his Twitter account.

The theory quickly fell apart because Harriet was in college and at the time Maddy I would only be 14. Eventually, he confessed it was all a joke.

When Madeleine should have turned 18, another girl appeared claiming to be her. Her name was Maddie, a 21 year old tik toker who started comparing various photos of her as a child with Madeleine McCann. She also admitted that she was having fun.

The case madeleine mccann remains a dramatic question mark. Unfortunately today marks a new anniversary: ​​16 years of a painful absence and, for now, without explanation.

Source: Clarin

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