Police link suspect Madeleine McCann to disappearance of 6-year-old schoolboy

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German police have contacted the family of a six-year-old boy who disappeared in the Algarve in 1996 – after having linked him to the suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann.

German detectives investigating 43-year-old Christian Brueckner for the disappearance of the British Magdalene contacted René Hasee’s family to tell them that they were again investigating his 1996 abduction.

The six-year-old from Elsdorf, Germany, was on vacation with his family in Aljezur – just 40 km from Praia da Luz, in the Algarve – when he disappeared on June 21, 1996.

René’s father Andreas Hasee said an investigator from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) contacted him today – the first time he had heard the police in 20 years. He told the German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger: “There could be a connection”.

German detectives investigating Christian B, 43, contacted René Hasee's family to tell them that they were again investigating his 1996 abduction

German detectives investigating Christian B, 43, contacted René Hasee’s family to tell them that they were investigating his 1996 abduction again

Detectives have said that the suspect (photo) has lived in the Algarve regularly since 1995. He had already been convicted of sexual offenses against children and would have been 19 years old when René disappeared

Madeleine McCann (photo) disappeared during a family stay in Praia da Luz in May 2007

Detectives said the suspect (left) had lived in the Algarve regularly since 1995. He had already been convicted of sexual offenses against children and was said to have been 19 years old when René disappeared. Madeleine McCann (right) disappeared during a family stay in Praia da Luz in May 2007

René was last seen running in front of his mother and stepfather on a walk on the beach to swim in the sea. After losing sight of him, I never saw him again; gone with just his clothes lying on the beach.

Detectives said the suspect had lived in the Algarve regularly since 1995. He had already been convicted of sexual offenses against children and was said to have been 19 years old when René disappeared.

Mr. Hasee, who had accepted that his son drowned, added: “René went to Portugal with my ex-wife and his new partner.

“He was in fact also a very careful child, he would not have easily climbed alone in the Atlantic. Of course you start to think, yes. I do not imagine that René is still alive, “he added.

An expert at the time discovered that the tide and current conditions in the sea made a swimming accident unlikely, and BKA police in Germany maintained that more victims could be linked to the Maddie investigation. The force refused to comment on René Hasee.

René was last seen running in front of his mother and stepfather on a walk on the beach to swim in the sea. After losing sight of him, I never saw him again; gone with just his clothes lying on the beach. In the photo, it was only 25 miles from where Brueckner lived in Praia da Luz

This comes after prosecutors reopened the investigation into whether Brueckner abducted Inga Gehricke, five, after being arrested at Diakoniewerk Wilhelmshof in Saxony-Anhalt on a family outing five years ago.

Her disappearance on May 2, 2015 – almost eight years to the day after Madeleine’s disappearance in Portugal on May 3, 2007 – was only 48 miles from where Brueckner lived on the site of five acres of box factory in the isolation of the village of Neuwegersleben, south-east of Hanover.

More than 100 officers descended on the former box factory in February 2016, digging holes in search of the body of Inga.

The little girl was not found, but Brueckner’s USB memory containing images of sexual abuse of children was found on a USB key hidden under “animal bones”, the police being about to return , according to the German tabloid Bild.

Brueckner was charged with child pornography, but was never charged with missing from Inga when the probe was dropped after four weeks.

But today, prosecutors have confirmed that they have reopened a preliminary investigation to find out whether he was involved in the unresolved Inga case.

Police are about to return to this abandoned box factory in Neuwegersleben, Germany, where Christian Brueckner lived in a caravan and hid child pornography among the bones of animals. Police raided 2016 for missing Inga Gehricke

Police are about to return to this abandoned box factory in Neuwegersleben, Germany, where Christian Brueckner lived in a caravan and hid child pornography among the bones of animals. Police raided 2016 to find missing Inga Gehricke

It is not known if the pedophile owned the abandoned box factory or part of it - but he is known to have lived there in a caravan behind its doors

It is unknown if the pedophile owned the abandoned box factory or part of it – but he is known to have lived there in a caravan behind its doors

Inga Gehricke disappeared from Diakoniewerk Wilhelmshof in Saxony-Anhalt during a family outing on May 2, 2015 in a case that detectives have not been able to solve since

Inga Gehricke disappeared from Diakoniewerk Wilhelmshof in Saxony-Anhalt during a family outing on May 2, 2015 in a case that detectives have not been able to solve since. Prosecutors confirmed they have reopened a preliminary investigation to find out if Christian Brueckner (photo from 2018) was involved in the unresolved Inga case

More than 100 police officers descended on the site in February 201 (photo), digging holes in search of missing Inga

More than 100 police officers descended on the site in February 201 (photo), digging holes in search of missing Inga

It came as documents revealed by Spiegel would have shown that Brueckner had fantasized in disgusting online conversations about the abduction and sexual abuse of a child in September 2013.

He reportedly told an acquaintance that he wanted to “capture something small and use it for days”, and that he would be safer if “the evidence is destroyed afterwards”.

Brueckner was abandoned by his mother at birth and started abusing children as a teenager when he assaulted a six-year-old child in a public court, it was learned today.

Christian Brueckner was 17 years old in 1994 when he attacked the little girl in his hometown of Würzburg, Bavaria – and he only stopped fumbling when she started screaming and crying.

But he also “dropped his pants” on a nine-year-old boy before fleeing, according to German tabloid Bild.

He was born Christian Fischer in Bavaria in 1976, but was abandoned by his biological mother and placed in a children’s home in Wuerzburg and was adopted by the Brueckner family as a baby, taking their name.

As a teenager, he got involved in criminal life and was convicted of his first burglary in his hometown of Würzburg in 1992, when he was 15 years old.

In the space of two years, the deformed adolescent had progressed by sexually abusing a child, the attack on the playing field earning him a two-year sentence for adolescents, of which he only served part .

Christian Brueckner, photographed with a friend in 2011, was adopted as a baby after he was abandoned by his biological mother and began to abuse children as a teenager

Christian Brueckner, pictured with a friend in 2011, was adopted as a baby after he was abandoned by his biological mother and started abusing children as a teenager

Police hope to find woman believed to be with suspect Christian Brueckner (photo) in house in Praia da Luz, Portugal, before disappearance of three-year-old Maddie

Madeleine, who disappeared from the seaside resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007, while on vacation with her family

Christian Brueckner (photo on the left) left Portugal after the disappearance of Madeline, three years old (photo on the right) in 2007

How the unresolved case of the disappearance of five-year-old Inga Gehricke involved a 500-member search team after they left to collect wood

Inga Gehricke, five, had a barbecue with her family on May 2, 2015

Inga Gehricke, five, had a barbecue with her family on May 2, 2015

The disappearance of five-year-old Inga Gehricke during a trip to a forest area in Saxony-Anhalt has sparked a huge search involving 500 people.

She had a barbecue with her family in an apartment complex in Diakoniewerk Wilhelmshof on May 2, 2015 when she disappeared.

The girl allegedly wandered around looking for wood to light a campfire at around 6:30 p.m., but never returned.

Police dogs also failed to capture the scent of Inga who was wearing a butterfly t-shirt, blue jeans and her hair in two braids.

One of the main suspects was former security guard Silvio Schulz, but he denied that the police were ever able to prove any connection.

In July 2016, Schulz was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of two children, including a four-year-old Bosnian boy who was taken from a migrant registration center the year before.

Police also allegedly investigated Christian Brueckner and found a device at his home containing child pornography, but could not prove any connection to the case of Inga.

In June 2017, police officially dropped the investigation into the disappearance of Inga.

Inga had traveled with her parents Victoria and Jens-Uwe Gehricke, as well as her three brothers and sisters Maxim, 15, Julius, 13 and Freya, eight.

Speaking in April 2017, Gehricke told Stern magazine that her “feeling told me she was still alive”, while her husband said, “I still have hope that she will be found. But the hope that she will come back alive is null for me. “

As a young man, Brueckner dreamed of emigrating with his girlfriend at the time, and when he turned 18 – with a new driver’s license and a series of pending hearings – he took off to Portugal with his German girlfriend and the city of Lagos, in the Algarve, said the German newspaper Bild, who quoted him as saying: “We knew nothing about Portugal. We went to Lagos because we liked the name so much. We had a tent with us and camped in the wild.

He finally settled in Praia da Luz, the picturesque seaside resort where the McCanns chose to take their three children on vacation.

For 12 years, he lived there, telling his family that he worked as a caterer and a small job man, when in fact he was trafficking cannabis, drug trafficking, and robbing vacation homes and rooms. hotel.

Inga's disappearance on May 2, 2015 was almost eight years to the day after Madeleine's disappearance in Portugal on May 3, 2007

Inga's disappearance on May 2, 2015 was almost eight years to the day after Madeleine's disappearance in Portugal on May 3, 2007

Inga’s disappearance on May 2, 2015 was almost eight years to the day after Madeleine’s disappearance in Portugal on May 3, 2007

Justizvollzugsanstalt Kiel in northern Germany where Brueckner is currently detained

Justizvollzugsanstalt Kiel in the north of Germany where Brueckner is currently detained

The farm where the new lead suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann lived was located only three kilometers from where she disappeared from her family's vacation apartment.

The farm where the new lead suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann lived was located just three kilometers from where she disappeared from her family’s vacation apartment.

He was briefly locked up for theft of diesel and is also said to have exchanged passports and stolen property.

He lived in Praia da Luz in a somewhat dilapidated and isolated house accessible by a dirt road. “In terms of furniture, it was a typical bachelor apartment,” said an acquaintance.

After a decade in the Algarve, Brueckner, a 6-foot pervert, robbed a 72-year-old American widow – and subjected her to a hideous sexual assault.

He broke into his villa near Praia da Luz, brandishing a 30 cm “saber”, according to evidence from a court which ultimately convicted him.

He beat her, tied her, gagged her and blindfolded her, before committing a degrading rape which he filmed, learned the court of Braunschweig, in Germany. In the video, he ended up tearing off his own mask, said a witness in court.

Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are pictured in London in October 2014 during a Child Rescue Alert promotion ceremony

Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are pictured in London in October 2014 during a Child Rescue Alert promotion ceremony

His victim told investigators, “I felt he liked to torture me.” At the time, Brueckner lived in a rented whitewashed villa on a secluded hill along a path that stretches above the beach where Madeleine and her family played during their week-long vacation.

Neighbors described him as an “angry” car dealer, who sped along country roads, and said that when he disappeared, he left a collection of wigs, disguises and exotic clothes.

Brueckner left Portugal after Madeline’s disappearance on May 3, 2007. The previous month, he had left the villa and moved into a VW Westfalia camper van that police have now linked to the disappearance of Madeleine.

He also kept his popular Jaguar XJR6 1993 with its German license plate. However, the day after he disappeared, he re-registered the classic British car to another person, although he is still driving it, said Scotland Yard.

This is the home of Christian Brueckner in Braunschweig near Hanover, where he had lived before fleeing to Italy and was arrested for rape on an American in Praia da Luz

This is Christian Brueckner’s home in Braunschweig near Hanover, where he had lived before fleeing to Italy and was arrested for rape of an American in Praia da Luz

A map of the Praia de Luz region of Portugal showing the suspect's house and the McCann vacation apartment that was nearby

A map of the Praia de Luz region of Portugal showing the suspect’s home and the McCann vacation apartment that was nearby

Augsburg resident Alexander Bischof described how he became friends with Maddie McCann suspect Brueckner after being introduced by a mutual friend around 2007 or 2008.

“It’s still unimaginable,” says Bischof, who said he met him 12 or 13 years ago. “He said he needed help and was looking for an apartment in Augsburg.

“He gave me his Jaguar – but he never mentioned Maddie,” said a friend who let Christian Brueckner live in his attic after fleeing Praia da Luz

A friend of Christian Brueckner let him live in his attic just after his escape from Praia da Luz, and even treated the Jaguar at the center of the probe Madeleine McCann, we learned today.

“It’s still unimaginable,” said Alexander Bischof, an Augsburg resident, who says he met him 12 or 13 years ago. “He said he needed help and that he was looking for an apartment in Augsburg.”

He was driving a Jaguar, which he bought “mutual knowledge”. “Because I’m also a Jaguar lover, we had a topic of conversation right away,” says Bischof.

At one point, he offered Brueckner the option of staying with him and his wife if he wanted to.

He said that Brueckner was “often underway – sometimes he traveled to Portugal, sometimes to Sylt, to Munich. In between, he spent nights sleeping in my attic.

Otherwise, he stayed on his VW bus. Most of the time, he went to Portugal, where he would have had a girlfriend. Once, he took them to Augsuburg to meet his girlfriend where they spoke in English.

“At one point I came to the conclusion that he was involved in drugs,” he added, and he was imprisoned in Portugal for two or three months, during which time he handed him the Jaguar car.

“When he came out, he came back quickly here, I didn’t know any more at the time,” he said. Later, he handed the car over to an acquaintance in Munich. “He always made surprisingly quick decisions,” he added.

After a while, Bishop walked away from Brueckner. “He’s using my home and he’s involved in drugs – I couldn’t handle this,” he said.

“I thought I couldn’t do that,” said Bishop. “After a few years, the law stood at my door. The police wanted to search the accommodation where he had stayed.

At that time, he learned that he had “certain things in his past”. He didn’t know what. Only that it would be a “capital crime”. Upon further questioning, the officials mentioned the name “Maddie”.

When Bishop first heard of the murder allegations, he was shocked.

He said; “We never talked about young children, our conversations were about cars, football and Portugal, men’s affairs.”

He was driving a Jaguar, which he had bought from a mutual acquaintance. “Because I’m also a Jaguar lover, we had a topic of conversation right away,” says Bischof.

At one point, he offered Brueckner the option of staying with him and his wife if he wanted to.

He said that Brueckner was “often underway – sometimes he traveled to Portugal, sometimes to Sylt, to Munich. In between, he spent nights sleeping in my attic.

Otherwise, he stayed on his VW bus. Most of the time, he went to Portugal, where he would have had a girlfriend. Once, he took them to Augsuburg to meet his girlfriend where they spoke in English.

“At one point I came to the conclusion that he was involved in drugs,” he added, and he was imprisoned in Portugal for two or three months, during which time he handed him the Jagguar car.

“When he came out, he came back quickly here, I didn’t know any more at the time,” he said. Later, he handed the car over to an acquaintance in Munich. “He always made surprisingly quick decisions,” he added.

After a while, Bishop walked away from Brueckner. “He’s using my home and he’s involved in drugs – I couldn’t handle this,” he said.

“I thought I couldn’t do that,” said Bishop. “After a few years, the law stood at my door. The police wanted to search the accommodation where he had stayed.

At that time, he learned that he had “certain things in his past”. He didn’t know what. Only that it would be a “capital crime”. Upon further questioning, the officials mentioned the name “Maddie”.

When Bishop first heard of the murder allegations, he was shocked.

He said; “We never talked about young children, our conversations were about cars, football and Portugal, men’s affairs.”

Returning to Germany, rather than keeping his head down, Brueckner continued to steal and sell drugs. In October 2011, the district court in Niebüll, Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, sentenced him to “imprisonment of narcotic drugs in large quantities” for one year and nine months. The sentence was initially suspended.

In 2014, Brueckner lived in Braunschweig, near Hanover, where he boasted to his friends that he had opened a local shop. He claimed to have worked from seven in the morning until midnight, but the business and his relationship failed, and he started hitting the bottle and living on benefits.

The German television channel RTL.DE interviewed a friend of Bruekner’s who met him in Braunschweig and who allegedly lived above his shop.

Norbert M, whose name was changed by the TV station, said, “You couldn’t tell what was making it tick. “

Norbert claimed that his former friend was in debt to many people and maintained a kiosk in the city.

The witness said that Bruekner had a minor Kosovar girlfriend, although he had never seen the suspect with young children. He would have beaten her.

He said: “I have heard that he left the kiosk and then went to Portugal or Spain with a girl. He then left dogs in his kiosk for weeks.

“I can imagine he’s behind Maddie’s disappearance. “

His twisted obsession with child pornography caught up with him and, in 2016, he was sentenced by a district court to one year and three months in prison for “sexually abusing a child by procuring and possessing child pornography ”.

Brueckner appears to have returned to the Algarve after making a statement to a friend about Madeleine on the tenth anniversary in May 2017, but within a month was arrested there on an arrest warrant European and extradited to Germany.

The pedophile (photo) was arrested while living on the streets of Milan at the end of 2018 on a European arrest warrant for the rape of the 72-year-old American woman in the Algarve

The pedophile (photo) was arrested while living on the streets of Milan at the end of 2018 on a European arrest warrant for the rape of the 72-year-old American girl in the Algarve

Brueckner is currently behind bars in Germany and is serving 21 months for drug trafficking. While in prison last December, he was also convicted of raping a 72-year-old American tourist in Praia da Luz just 18 months before Madeleine’s disappearance.

The seven-year sentence for this conviction will not begin until his appeal is heard.

His legal battle with German authorities over the rape case means he could walk freely in a few days after serving two-thirds of his drug sentence at Kiel prison, Schleswig-Holstein, according to the German newspaper. Frankfurter Rundschau.

The pedophile was arrested while living on the streets of Milan in late 2018 on a European arrest warrant for the rape of the 72-year-old American woman. He was brought back to Germany and charged in August 2019.

A month earlier, he had been sentenced for drug trafficker in the German station Sylt and handed over the 21-month term he is currently serving.

In December 2019, a court in Braunschweig, where he had lived before fleeing to Italy, found him guilty of rape because DNA from his hair had been found in the woman’s holiday home – this who was making 244 billion for a chance that it was not him, the judge was told.

But he appeals the rape verdict on the grounds that his extradition from Italy was illegal before the Federal High Court of Germany because of the decision on the case, and if they find against him, he will then start his sentence. seven years. German legal experts said last night that his call means he is on the verge of parole and could be released as early as Sunday.

What do we know about the Maddie Christian Brueckner murder suspect and his criminal past?

1976: Christian Brueckner was born in Würzburg under a different name, which would be Fischer. He was adopted by the Brueckner family and took their last name.

1992: Christian Brueckner is arrested on suspicion of burglary in his hometown of Würzburg, Bavaria.

1994: He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for “abusing a child” and “committing sexual acts in front of a child”.

1995: Brueckner arrives in Portugal as an 18-year-old backpacker and starts working in the restaurant business in the seaside resorts of Lagos and Praia da Luz.

But friends say he got involved in a drug syndicate in the Algarve.

September 2005: He puts on a mask and breaks into an apartment with a 72-year-old American tourist.

The victim was tied up, gagged, blindfolded and whipped with a metal cane before being raped for 15 minutes. She then said that he clearly appreciated “torturing” her before the rape.

April 2007: He leaves a farm and takes a place in a motorhome now linked to the crime. The farm is cleaned and a bag of wigs and “exotic clothes” is found.

May 3, 2007: Madeleine McCann was uprooted at around 10 p.m. from her bed while her parents were eating tapas with friends a few meters away.

Brueckner’s cell phone places him in the area that night. He returned to his native Germany shortly after.

October 2011: He was sentenced to 21 months for “drug trafficking” in Niebüll, in northern Germany.

In 2013, police released a photofit of a man seen lurking near the McCann apartment, and Scotland Yard said the suspect had not yet been excluded from the investigation.

In 2013, police released a photofit of a man hiding near the McCann apartment, and Scotland Yard said that the suspect last night had not yet been excluded from the investigation.

2014: He moved to Braunschweig where he began to run a kiosk in the city center. He then returns to Portugal with a girlfriend.

2016: He is back in Germany. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison for “sexual abuse of a child in connection with the creation and possession of child pornography.”

May 3, 2017: Brueckner is said to be in a bar with a friend when a call for the tenth anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance is broadcast on German television.

He reportedly told him in a bar that he “knew everything” about what had happened to him. He then showed his friend a video of him raping a woman.

MailOnline understands that the friend surrendered to the police shortly after.

June 2017: He returns to Portugal and is extradited again to Germany. The reason was a conviction of the Braunschweig district court to 15 months’ imprisonment for the sexual abuse of a child.

August 2018: After his release from prison, he lives on the street. But he was again imprisoned for drug-related crimes.

The first prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters addresses the media during a press conference on the Madeleine McCann case at the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office

First prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters speaks to the media during a press conference on the Madeleine McCann case at the Braunschweig public prosecutor’s office

September 2018: Brueckner is arrested in Milan, Italy and extradited to Germany and tried for raping the American tourist in 2007 after DNA correspondence with hair found at the crime scene.

July 2019: He was imprisoned for 21 months for drug trafficking in the seaside resort of Sylt in northern Germany.

August 2019: Brueckner is charged with the rape of the American tourist in Praia da Luz in 2005.

December 2019: He is found guilty of rape of tourist extortion on the basis of DNA evidence. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, but it was not imposed pending an appeal.

June 3, 2020: Scotland Yard and German police reveal they have identified a suspect in the Maddie McCann case

June 4, 2020: Prosecutors in Braunschweig, where he lives, say they believe Madeleine McCann was murdered, said spokesman Hans Christian Wolters. He is quoted in the German press as the main suspect.

“This time, it seems very different”: Kate and Gerry McCann have seen their hopes multiplied so many times, but their close adviser CLARENCE MITCHELL thinks that the last developments in Germany could be important

by Clarence Mitchell for the Daily Mail

For Kate and Gerry McCann, there have been many heartbreaking moments since their three-year-old daughter Madeleine disappeared from their vacation apartment in Portugal 13 years ago.

Countless times their hopes have been raised over the years, but nothing has brought them closer to solving the mystery of their daughter’s disappearance – or ending their grief.

Since that terrible night of May 3, 2007, these have been a roller coaster of suspected worldwide sightings and denunciations, most of which, although well-intentioned, have not been accurate.

Clarence Mitchell (photo), spokesperson for the McCann family, explains how Kate and Gerry McCann feel about the latest news regarding the disappearance of their daughter Madeline in 2007

Clarence Mitchell (photo), spokesperson for the McCann family, explains how Kate and Gerry McCann feel about the latest news regarding the disappearance of their daughter Madeline in 2007

We had a plane with engines running, ready to pick up a child who turned out not to be Madeleine and hundreds, if not thousands, of psychics telling us where she is. None of this worked.

The situation calms down for a long time, then returns with the force of a train.

With the manic events of the past 36 hours, you could say that we have already been here – but this time, something seems very different.

This is the first time I remember that the police, not only in one country but in three, targeted a specific and identifiable person: a 43-year-old German homeless man who lived in Praia da Luz when Madeleine disappeared.

For the first time, detectives ask very specific and detailed questions about a person’s activities, their vehicles and their phones.

Keep in mind that it can still be excluded, but we have never had this level of focus before, which makes it more meaningful.

Kate et Gerry connaissent depuis un certain temps cette nouvelle piste. Ils savaient que cela provoquerait quelque chose d’une tempête, ce qu’il a. La police leur a dit de ne le dire à personne. Ils ne l’ont pas fait, pas même leur famille élargie, donc l’appel aurait un impact maximal.

Les Allemands traitent cela comme une enquête sur un meurtre, mais ont clairement indiqué qu’ils n’avaient aucune preuve pour prouver que le pire s’était produit.

La police britannique garde l’esprit ouvert et considère toujours qu’il s’agit d’une enquête sur une personne disparue, tout comme les Portugais.

Kate et Gerry n’ont jamais abandonné l’espoir, même avec les derniers développements, que Madeleine pourrait encore être retrouvée vivante.

Ce n’est que lorsqu’ils sont présentés avec des preuves irréfutables du contraire qu’ils accepteront que le pire s’est produit.

Parfois, Kate me demande «Ai-je tort de continuer à espérer?», Et je lui dis: «Non, tu ne l’es pas.» Un enfant a été retrouvé en Chine le mois dernier après avoir disparu pendant 33 ans. Ça arrive.

Je crois toujours que c’est possible, mais avec les condamnations pénales de ce suspect, y compris les délits sexuels, il y a toujours cette terrible pensée dans le fond de votre esprit.

Malheureusement, Kate et Gerry ont connu le risque que Madeleine soit victime de ce type de crime dès le premier jour, mais ils sont suffisamment résistants pour comprendre cela sans se ruiner.

Cela leur donne de la force, donc chaque fois qu’un gros titre apparaît, ils l’attendent.

Comme tout le monde, ils ont de bons et de mauvais jours, Kate en particulier, mais ils sont pleinement conscients et réalistes de la terrible possibilité de ce qui aurait pu arriver.

Ils veulent juste connaître la vérité et que quiconque était responsable soit tenu responsable et fasse face à la justice.

Ils ont besoin de savoir ce qui est arrivé à leur fille car ils ont besoin de paix.

Leur dernier jour ensemble: Madeline (à droite) en photo avec le père Gerry (à gauche) et sa sœur Amélie (au milieu) le même jour qu'elle a disparu

Leur dernier jour ensemble: Madeline (à droite) en photo avec le père Gerry (à gauche) et sa sœur Amélie (au milieu) le même jour qu’elle a disparu

J’ai rencontré les McCann pour la première fois deux semaines après la disparition de Madeleine. Je travaillais comme fonctionnaire pour le Cabinet Office; journaliste à la BBC depuis 20 ans, j’ai été détaché par le Foreign Office pour les aider à traiter avec les médias.

J’ai rencontré Gerry pour la première fois quand il est revenu en Grande-Bretagne pour obtenir certains des biens de Madeleine pour aider au profilage de l’ADN. On m’a présenté à lui dans un poste de police du Leicestershire et nous sommes retournés ensemble au Portugal. J’ai rencontré Kate le lendemain.

C’était une époque surréaliste. C’était il y a si longtemps maintenant, mais à bien des égards, on se sent toujours comme hier.

Bien sûr, il y avait un détachement professionnel, mais en tant que père de trois jeunes enfants, je pouvais ressentir pour eux une certaine sympathie et compréhension.

En envoyant des vidéos et des photos, je sentais que je connaissais presque Madeleine aussi, et pourtant c’était une fille que je n’avais jamais rencontrée.

Parce que j’avais eu l’assurance des autorités qu’ils étaient des parties innocentes dans un rare cas d’enlèvement d’étrangers – et je pouvais voir qu’ils venaient de tout ce qu’ils disaient et faisaient, et de la façon dont ils réagissaient à tout – je pensais qu’il y avait aussi un cas moral ici pour aider une famille en crise évidente.

Telle était l’ampleur de l’histoire, c’était un cycle de folie qui déferlait et les histoires négatives gagnaient du terrain très rapidement. En 2007, les réseaux sociaux ne faisaient que commencer.

L’opinion publique s’est endurcie au moment où il a été rapporté que Gerry et Kate avaient dîné avec des amis dans un restaurant à tapas lorsque Madeleine a été enlevée de son lit à quelques mètres de là, tandis que ses frères et sœurs jumeaux Sean et Amelie dormaient.

Instantanément, il a été jugé qu’elles étaient en quelque sorte négligentes et avaient laissé tomber leur fille, mais la réalité de la situation est que leur système de contrôle – avec des adultes allant voir les enfants endormis toutes les 20 ou 30 minutes – était meilleur que tout ce qui aurait pu été offert par le centre de vacances.

Je pouvais voir qu’ils avaient fait de leur mieux dans les circonstances, rendu un jugement. Ils acceptent pleinement qu’en raison d’une chance d’un milliard de dollars, ils se sont trompés. C’est quelque chose qu’ils vont devoir vivre pour le restant de leurs jours. Ils l’ont toujours dit.

Le fait est qu’ils ne trouvaient pas cela plus dangereux que de dîner dans le jardin pendant que leurs enfants dormaient dans la maison. Le restaurant était beaucoup plus proche de l’appartement que les photos aériennes des médias ne le laissaient entendre, et ils avaient une vue dégagée sur les portes-fenêtres.

Mais je pouvais voir dans des moments privés la vraie douleur, la colère, la colère, la douleur et la détresse que les gens ne voyaient pas à l’extérieur.

Tout ce qu’ils voyaient de Kate et Gerry, c’était lorsqu’ils faisaient une déclaration occasionnelle – puis ils étaient accusés d’avoir froid et d’être distants.

Opinion publique des parents de Madeline (photo) lorsqu'il a été découvert que Kate et Gerry dînaient avec des amis dans un restaurant à tapas lorsque Madeleine a été enlevée

Opinion publique des parents de Madeline (photo) lorsqu’il a été découvert que Kate et Gerry dînaient avec des amis dans un restaurant à tapas lorsque Madeleine a été enlevée

C’est parce qu’on leur a dit de ne pas montrer, si possible, d’émotions manifestes, car (je suis triste à dire) certains délinquants qui commettent ce genre de crimes peuvent obtenir une sorte de coup de pied pervers en voyant la détresse qu’ils ont causée aux parents. des enfants qu’ils ont emmenés. Parce que Kate et Gerry étaient tous deux médecins, ils ont pris cela très au sérieux.

J’ai appris à les connaître en tant qu’amis et je savais qu’ils étaient innocents de toute implication. Je pouvais voir la façon dont ils avaient été traduits et la douleur qui les avait causés, indépendamment de la perte de Madeleine. J’étais très désolé pour eux.

C’était donc un risque calculé lorsque j’ai quitté mon emploi dans la fonction publique pour travailler pour les McCann. Madeleine aurait pu être retrouvée le lendemain et j’aurais été sans travail – mais je voulais aussi le faire à titre personnel, pour leur servir de pare-feu.

Je pouvais voir qu’ils avaient besoin d’aide et j’étais fier de pouvoir la donner. Depuis, j’ai continué à travailler pour eux, dernièrement bénévolement.

Malgré tout ce qu’ils ont vécu, ce sont deux personnages très forts. On dit souvent que quelque chose comme ça peut déchirer un couple, mais dans ce cas, cela a réuni Kate et Gerry plus fortement, en partie pour le bien de Madeleine mais aussi pour se concentrer sur leurs jumeaux Sean et Amelie, qui étaient très jeunes à l’époque.

Kate s’est lancée dans la garde des jumeaux et a finalement arrêté son travail médical pour s’occuper d’eux à plein temps, bien qu’elle fasse un peu de travail bénévole avec des personnes atteintes de démence. Elle est également ambassadrice de l’association caritative Missing People.

Gerry est très pratique. Il s’est lancé dans son travail de cardiologue et il est le soutien de famille.

Quand j’ai commencé à travailler avec eux, je n’imaginais pas que la disparition de Madeleine resterait sans solution après 13 ans. De toute évidence, vous espérez que cela sera résolu en une journée, et nous avons toujours dit « il suffit d’un appel téléphonique ».

Ils se félicitent vivement de ce nouvel appel à l’information sur cette personne. Ce serait une nouvelle fantastique et un résultat juste et heureux si Madeleine était toujours retrouvée vivante, mais, quel que soit le résultat de ce dernier développement, essentiellement Kate et Gerry veulent juste savoir la vérité sur ce qui est arrivé à leur fille.

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