true crime

A mysterious call and a yellow van: Everything we know about the new Madeleine McCann suspect.


Last month marked the 13th anniversary of the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann. 

On May 3, 2007, the British toddler vanished from her bed while sleeping in her family’s Portugal holiday apartment with her twin siblings, while her parents dined 55 metres away at a tapas bar with friends.

Throughout the evening, the adults took it in turns to check on the kids, but at 10pm during one of these routine checks, Kate McCann discovered her daughter missing.

WATCH: The trailer for the documentary Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann, which was released last year. Post continues after video.

Video by Netflix

Since that day, there has been no sign of the little girl, despite Madeleine McCann’s story being the most publicised missing person’s cases in modern history. Theories about what happened to her range from accidental death to sex trafficking, and being snatched by a childless couple. Maddie’s own parents were also considered as her kidnappers at one point.

Finally, more than a decade after Maddie’s disappearance there’s been a breakthrough.

Police have identified a jailed German paedophile, whose name has not been released, as a suspect in Maddie’s case.


The 43-year-old German national, described as white with short blond hair, about 6ft tall and of a slim build, is known to have been in and around Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve coast at the time the little girl vanished.

Sky News reports he is behind bars for a sex crime and drug trafficking and has two previous convictions for “sexual contact with girls”.

A half-hour phone call was made to the man’s Portuguese mobile phone around an hour before Madeleine is believed to have gone missing.

He has been linked to a white and yellow VW T3 Westfalia campervan that was pictured driving around the tourist region in 2007.

Scotland Yard said the man, who would have been 30 at the time, was driving the vehicle in the Praia da Luz area in the days before Madeleine’s disappearance.

Police have linked the man to this campervan. Image: Metropolitan police.

He has also been linked to a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 with a German number plate seen in Praia da Luz and surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007.

The day after Madeleine went missing, the suspect got the car re-registered in Germany under someone else's name, although it is believed the vehicle was still in Portugal.

Both vehicles have been seized by German police.

This car has been linked to the suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance. Image: Metropolitan Police.

Scotland Yard is launching a joint appeal with the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany (BKA) and the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria (PJ), including an AUD $36,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person responsible for Madeleine's disappearance.

The Met's investigation has identified more than 600 people as potentially significant in the Madeleine McCann case They were tipped off about the German national, already known to detectives, following a 2017 appeal 10 years after she went missing.

A statement from Madeleine's parents, who have never given up on their search for answers, welcomed the new police appeal.

"All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice," the McCanns' statement said.

"We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive, but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace."

kate mccann lindy chamberlain
Kate and Gerry McCann hold an age-progressed police image of their daughter. They have never given up hope of answers. Image: Getty.

Two mobile phone numbers have been released in an unusual move by police as they search for more clues with this lead.

The first - (+351) 912 730 680 - is believed to have been used by the suspect, and received a call from another Portuguese mobile - (+351) 916 510 683 - while in the Praia da Luz area on the night of May 3, 2007.

The caller, who is not thought to have been in the Praia da Luz area, is not being treated as a suspect, but is said to be a "key witness" in the case.

Anyone with information is being urged to come forward.

Read more about Madeleine McCann

- With AAP

Feature image: Metropolitan Police/Getty.