International

Maddie McCann case: excavations in a German garden

(Berlin) Since Tuesday morning, the German police have been carrying out searches in a workers' garden near Hanover, linked to the mysterious disappearance of the little Briton Maddie McCann in 2007 in Portugal, a new development in this story with twists and turns.

David COURBET

France Media Agency

This case has experienced a sudden acceleration since the beginning of June with the identification of a new suspect, Christian B., 39 years old, a repeat offender German pedophile already convicted of rape in Portugal and currently in detention.

“These searches are linked to our investigation into the Maddie McCann affair,” Julia Meyer, spokesperson for the Brunswick prosecutor's office, told AFP , without giving further details.

Several police vehicles are present on the scene of this subdivision located on the western outskirts of the city, searched using shovels, rakes and dogs . Investigators also use an excavator, according to the local newspaper Hannoversche Allgemeine , which states that the suspect currently in detention had lived in Hanover, in northern Germany.

These allotment gardens are very popular in Germany, generally allowing city dwellers to benefit from a small space where they sometimes grow fruits and vegetables, have barbecues with friends and rest on weekends in a green setting.

Suspect in detention

This new research could confirm the convictions of German investigators who, recently, were the first to solemnly affirm that Madeleine McCann, disappeared there 11 years old and then 3 years old, had died.

In mid-June, the Brunswick prosecutor's office had explained that it had “evidence or concrete facts” supporting the conviction of the death of the girl but no “Forensic evidence” in the sense that, for example, body remains were found.

Christian B. is currently in detention in Kiel, in northern Germany, on another matter.

At the time of the events, he lived a few kilometers from the hotel, in the small Portuguese seaside resort of Praia da Luz, where the child had faded away. While in detention, he had to be placed in solitary confinement to prevent him from being attacked by fellow detainees.

He is suspected of murdering the little girl, who was on vacation with her parents and their two other children in Portugal at the time of her disappearance.

According to his lawyer quoted in the media, the man denies any involvement in Maddie's disappearance.

Other victims?

According to German media, investigators discovered children's swimsuits in a suspect's camper van. They also allegedly got their hands on USB drives containing thousands of pedophile images, some of which depict the suspect.

He applied for release, which the prosecution said will not be successful. He is in fact the target of an extradition request to Portugal for the rape of a woman of 68 years.

The case also raised several controversies, in particular around obvious errors of the German police. This would have informed Christian B. as soon as 2007 that she suspected him, which may have given her the chance to destroy any evidence.

In 2013, the German police had been put on the trail of the man following a widely watched program in Germany, which allows the police to issue calls for witnesses.

The German investigators are also studying a possible parallel with another case of disappearance, that of little Inga in 2015 in a forest in the German region of Saxony-Anhalt. Several other unsolved murders of children and adolescents in Europe, notably in Belgium and the Netherlands, are also being checked to establish whether the suspect might be involved.

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