This July, Police confirmed that an additional £350,000 has been allocated to continue the search for internationally missing person Madeleine McCann. Only two months earlier, parents Kate and Gerrie released a statement on the Find Madeleine website, marking the 18th birthday of their daughter. Thanking all who continue to send the family positive messages, the statement read: “We hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again. As we have said repeatedly, we need to know what has happened to our lovely daughter, no matter what. We are very grateful to the police for their continued efforts.”
Madeline, Missing Since 2007
More than fourteen years have passed since Madeleine “Maddie” McCann went missing from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz—a resort on the southern coast of Portugal. Madeleine and her siblings were sleeping while her parents dined with friends at a restaurant a couple of blocks away. The adults took turns going to check on the children, and when mother Kate McCann’s turn arrived, she found that her three-year-old daughter had vanished.
A sizeable and costly international missing person search has ensued in the years since Madeleine’s disappearance involving efforts from a number of European authorities spread across several countries. Speculation swirled around the case as police searched for a man seen carrying a child near the apartment—only to discover it was a false lead—and Portuguese police admitted that vital forensic clues may have been lost due to procedural failings at the scene of the disappearance. The missing girl’s parents were briefly named as suspects in the case, although their “arguido” status was lifted in 2008.
The Continuation of Operation Grange
In 2011, the UK Government launched Operation Grange in an effort to try to bring closure to the case. Two years later, British detectives announced that they had identified 41 potential suspects in the international missing person case, triggering the Portuguese police to reopen their investigation. The following year, in 2014, detectives travelled from England to Portugal to continue the search amid rumours of planned arrests, however no new developments were revealed.
Another “significant line of inquiry” was reported to have emerged in 2017, however no results were yielded. Authorities shared that Operation Grange had so far cost British taxpayers £12.5million. Three years later, in June of 2020—following yet another extension of funding—police identified convicted paedophile Christian Brueckner as a suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann. The 43-year-old German native is currently serving a sentence in his home country for drug related charges.
Those Hunting for Madeleine Hold Onto Hope
In what many consider to be the most widely known international missing person search of all time, rumours continue to cause confusion. Last year, Kate and Gerrie McCann issued a statement to address reports that the German authorities had informed them of proof that Madeleine was deceased. News of a letter containing such information turned out to be false, and the parents shared with their online following that the circulation of such misinformation had “caused unnecessary anxiety to friends and family and once again disrupted our lives.”
While the emergence of a new suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann is yet to provide clear answers to all who are closely following the case, an air of hope remains, and the international outpouring of public support for the McCann family continues to remind of humanity’s capacity for compassion—even in the face of such a terrible loss.
Thomas Lauth and his team at Missing Persons Investigations Worldwide strive to bring you the latest insight on people missing abroad, as well as providing guidance on what to do when your loved one goes missing overseas. As an expert in missing children and adults worldwide, international private investigator Thomas Lauth offers assistance to those urgently looking for much needed answers. If you require support in locating a missing person, contact our team today.