Grim discovery in van of Maddie suspect
Since the night Madeline McCann disappeared, her "anguished but unbroken" parents Kate and Gerry have never let the world forget their daughter.
For the past 13 years, since their little girl went missing on a family holiday in Portugal, they never stopped searching for answers, and say they hope she is still alive.
Now, alaraming new evidence revealed by 60 Minutes Australia could hold vital clues to Maddie's 2007 disappearance.
On June 4, German authorities made a shock announcement claiming that the three-year-old is dead.
However, they believe to have discovered thousands of disturbing videos on hard-drives and USB drives buried at a property owned by Maddie's prime suspect, Christian Brueckner
The 43-year-old German, who is a convicted sex offender, was recently named by police as the chief suspect in Maddie's disappearance.
He lived in a house in Monte Judeu just 8km from the Ocean Club apartment in Portugal from where Maddie was abducted.
But Brueckner, who is currently in prison for the rape of a 72-year old woman, also had a "vile and disgusting" shack about 3km from where the McCanns' nightmare began on the night of May 3, 2007.
Upon searching a deserted factory owned by Brueckner, police allegedly found 8,000 disturbing pieces, videos, and pictures reportedly of his alleged crimes - including athe swimsuits of little girls in his 10 metre long campervan, 60 Minutes reported.
Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the investigation into Brueckner, told the program during an exclusive interview, that he is not able to say if there is or isn't any pictures of Maddie.
"I mean he was into child pornography and torture and he did crimes against children at a very young age and according to the current information, he also filmed his offences," Mark Hofmann, a Berlin-based Crime & Intelligence Analyst who also works with German police, told reporter Liz Hayes.
RAPE OF ELDERLY WOMAN
Between 1995 and 2017, Bruckner drifted between Germany and the Portuguese coastal town of Praia da Luz.
The small time drug dealer lived chillingly close to where he committed the grim murder of an elderly woman in 2005 - and recorded it.
"This is not just rape. This is one of the most brutal ways of rape, which are possible," Mr Hoffman said.
According to police files, he beat her with a metal rod and it was only last year that DNA evidence led to Brueckner's conviction for horrible rape.
Mr Hoffman, who has also studied Brueckner's sordid criminal past, said Maddie was potentially just as much of a target for Brueckner as his elderly victim.
"It's really important to understand that many child molesters are not paedophiles. So for them, it's not about the young age itself, it's about weakness, it's about vulnerability, and it's about feeling some sense of power. So they like to attack 'easy victims'," he told the program.
Mr Wolters told Hayes he assumes that Maddie is dead, however is "not allowed" nor able to reveal all the details of their evidence.
"Yes. We don't have the body and no parts of the body, but we have enough evidence to say our suspect killed Madeleine McCann," Mr Wolters said, adding they knew of her death two years ago.
Between 9pm and 10pm, when Maddie was abducted, investigators also claimed to have discovered a mobile phone which was allegedly used by Brueckner in the immediate area of her hotel room - implying he was at the scene.
Brueckner also deregistered a second car he owned and photos released at the time also shows a striking similarity to the German's prime suspect.
Police also believe they have Brueckner talking in a paedophile chatroom in 2013 about how "bad" he wanted to abuse a little girl.
In the disturbing audio, which aired on 60 Minutes, Brueckner claims to have said if the "evidence is destroyed", he will "document exactly how they will be tortured".
"He's very, very clear about his fantasy, about abducting children and torturing them and using them for a couple of days. So these are very clear words," Mr Hoffman said.
German police are also investigating the disappearance of another little girl, Inga Gehricke in 2015 - almost eight years to the day Maddie went missing.
"I think that there are more victims of our suspect of other crimes," Mr Wolters told 60 Minutes.
But the prosecutor stopped short of suggesting they were dealing with a serial killer.
"I don't know. I'm not able to judge this," he said.
German authorities made a shock announcement: their suspect in the Madeleine McCann case is 43-year-old Christian Brückner, a sex-offender currently in prison for the rape of a 72-year old woman in Portugal. #60Mins pic.twitter.com/syTyfggA7K— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) June 28, 2020
Mr Hoffman believes that if Brueckner abducted Maddie, it's also likely he killed her.
"And killing is likely for different reasons. Number one, it's likely because it's part of the fantasy, but number two, it also just could have practical reasons not to be arrested for this crime, because she was old enough to talk," he told Hayes.
Christian Brückner has not yet been charged with any crime relating to Madeleine's disappearance or death.
Originally published as Grim discovery in van of Maddie suspect