Madeleine McCann has been missing for more than 13 years, with her heartbroken parents Kate and Gerry McCann still not ready to throw in the towel in search of their daughter just yet.
The three-year-old vanished while they were on a family holiday in the resort of Praia de Luz in Portugal’s Algarve region in 2007 – with cops still scratching their heads over what exactly happened to the child.
Tonight’s ITV documentary, Madeleine McCann: The Hunt for the Prime Suspect is set to tell the untold story of the case.
The doc features interviews with authorities who are investigating and those who are close to the case itself.
Dr Graham Hill, a former senior police officer and criminologist, poses a question of what would have been done differently if this had happened this summer.
He says: “What are we going to learn? How are we going to stop this happening again? If a child went missing on a beach in Europe, this summer in 2020, what would be done differently?
“You can abduct a child in one European country and in 24 hours drive right across Europe – and I’m not so sure that anything different would be done, because I’m not so sure we’ve learnt the lessons.”
The doc explores evidence that a phone allegedly belonging to suspect Christian Brueckner was ‘pinged’ by a mobile phone tower in Praia da Luz, close to where Madeleine disappeared, on the night she went missing.
However the Portuguese police were not able to connect Brueckner and his prepaid mobile phone to the cell tower data.
Police prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters in Braunschweig, Germany, says: “We are now looking for the other person who was on the call. We want to know what they talked about. but we also want the other person to tell us who they were talking to.
“The data shows that one phone was there, not who used it. That’s why the other person on the call would be so important to us.”
He added: “They could tell us who they spoke to, possibly our suspect. In that regard, it could result in a conviction.”
But a spanner has been thrown in the works of the investigation – under Portuguese law, police investigating Madeleine’s disappearance have just 22 months to prosecute the prime suspect.
Rogerio Alves claims Portugal’s 15-year limit on prosecutions means there is less than two years left to take action against suspect Brueckner.
German police believe Brueckner snatched Maddie while she was on holiday with her family.
Mr Alves, the McCann’s lawyer, has warned they are running out of time to launch a prosecution.
Back in 2007, Maddie’s parents had left their three children sleeping in the apartment while they went to a tapas restaurant nearby, returning regularly to check on Madeleine and her siblings.
But when Kate checked on the children at 10pm, she was horrified to find the door and window to their bedroom wide open and Madeleine nowhere to be found.
In the documentary, criminal law specialist Dr Alexander Stevens says: “The biggest challenge for the German prosecutor to get witnesses is the fact that any confidant would have to incriminate himself.
“Once you are involved in a murder crime, they would have to at least we sentenced to 10 years prison. So, the chances of getting somebody to come forward are actually quite low.”
*McCann: The Hunt for the Prime Suspect airs tonight at 9pm on ITV
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