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Painful memories of the past return to Praia da Luz

por Sherlyn Vandyke (2020-06-12)


The Portuguese coastal town where Madeleine McCann vanished has once again been forced to relive the shuddering events which scarred the community 13 years ago.

Praia da Luz has been tossed into a fresh media frenzy following the naming of German paedophile Christian Brueckner as the key suspect in the 2007 disappearance of the British three-year-old.

The developments have dredged up painful emotions for residents, who are hoping the police investigation is conclusive and allows them to 'move on'.

But after a decade of new leads and false hope, which has frequently pinned the holiday hotspot under the spotlight, locals say memories of the fateful night and frantic search will never fade.  

'Everyone hopes this is the end, that they got the right guy and we can get closure,' one resident told the Guardian.

Mayor Hugo Pereira acknowledged the region has never shaken off association with the events of May 3, 2007, when Madeleine disappeared from the ground floor Ocean Club hotel room while her parents Kate and Gerry were a dinner.






The Portuguese coastal town where Madeleine McCann vanished has once again been forced to relive the shuddering events which scarred the community 13 years ago (a man walks next to the apartment where three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007 yesterday)

















Praia da Luz has been tossed into a fresh media frenzy following the naming of German paedophile Christian Brueckner (left) as the key suspect in the 2007 disappearance of the British three-year-old (right)







After a decade of new leads and false hope, which has frequently pinned the holiday hotspot under the spotlight, locals say memories of the fateful night and frantic search will never fade (apartment pictured five days after the disappearance)


He said the subsequent hunt for Madeleine throughout the night and over the following days and weeks has forever remained etched in his brain.

The community leader said: 'I remember the first news and the beginning of the searches and efforts to try to find Maddie. That stays with you.' 

Pereira swatted away suggestions made in a 2018 Netflix documentary that Praia da Luz was a prowling ground for a child trafficking ring and insisted Madeleine's disappearance was isolated.

Brueckner, 43, moved from Germany to Praia da Luz in 1995 after serving part of a two-year sentence for molesting a six-year-old girl in Wurzburg. 

He is now the lead suspect in Madeleine's case and has further been linked to the disappearances of six-year-old boy René Hasse in the Algarve, 1996, and five-year-old girl Igna Gehnricke in Germany, 2015.

Now languishing in a German prison in Kiel, at the time of Madeleine's vanishing he was living in the area about a 10-minute drive away.

The current owner of the house, who has revealed they bought the property in 2011 and nobody had lived there for two years. 






A man walks with a pig at the Praia da Luz beach, Portugal, June 5, 2020. The developments have dredged up painful emotions for residents, who are hoping the police investigation is conclusive and allows them to 'move on'







A view of the block of apartments from where British girl Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007, in Praia da Luz










While old emotional wounds are being uncovered for residents, British forensic teams may even be sent to Portugal to comb for evidence.

Fresh searches will focus on the site of a hillside property overlooking Praia da Luz where Brueckner lived with his German girlfriend, according to sources.

'Special teams of cadaver dogs trained to locate bodies were brought in from the UK and may well be drafted in again,' a source told the Sun.   

Locals' hopes the investigation will draw a line under the 13-year saga has been echoed by Kate and Gerry McCanns Portguese lawyer. 

Rogerio Alves, who has traditionally assisted the McCanns as their criminal lawyer, said this week's revelation police have a new suspect means the 13-year-old mystery could be closer to being solved.

Mr Alves told respected Portuguese daily Jornal de Noticias: 'A new lead publicised by the police, which is therefore not an anonymous lead or a frivolous one, is obviously going to give the family hope.

'The family want this investigation to continue because the case is still active and hasn't been resolved. Madeleine's parents want to know the truth.

'They hope this lead can lead to the discovery of the truth, so we will be able to know what happened, what crime was committed and who committed it and what happened to Madeleine and whether's she alive.'

Gerry and Kate McCann said in a statement released after police revealed they had a new suspect, identified as German children sex movies offender Christian Breuckner, that they will never give up hope of finding their daughter alive.

In a statement accompanying the revelation that a suspect had been identified in her disappearance, the McCanns said: 'All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice.

'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.' 



 



Madeleine McCann prime suspect's parents revealed: Christian Brueckner's adoptive mother and father who sent him to a home for delinquent teenagers when they could no longer cope with his criminal behaviour 

By Nick Fagge in Wuerzburg, Germany, for MailOnline






Brigitte and Fritz Brueckner, Madeleine McCann murder suspect Christian Brueckner's parents


Madeleine McCann murder suspect Christian Brueckner was thrown out of his adopted home because of his disruptive and criminal behaviour, MailOnline can reveal as his parents are exclusively pictured for the first time.

Brigitte and Fritz Brueckner had taken baby Christian into their family as an act of charity for the tiny foundling who had been given up by his mother.  

But the kind-hearted parents sent him to live in a reform home for delinquent teenagers after Herr Brueckner was seriously injured in a car crash and could no longer discipline the boy. 

Widowed Frau Brueckner today told MailOnline she knew nothing about her estranged son's alleged crimes. 

Standing inside the doorway of her modest home in Bergtheim, near Wuerzburg, she told MailOnline: 'I don't know anything about it. I don't want to know anything about it.'

She distanced herself from the 43-year-old prisoner as neighbours revealed the family's difficulty in controlling Christian.

They told of how Frau Brueckner could not cope with Christian's disruptive and increasingly criminal behaviour and simultaneously look after her disabled husband who suffered brain damage and was confined to a wheel chair following the smash in 1992.

Today neighbours of the couple in the village of Bergthei, where he grew up also told of their shock that Brueckner has been linked to the murder of four-year-old Madeleine in 2007. 

One neighbour told MailOnline: 'The Brueckners were a lovely couple, very kind. But what happened with their boy Christian is a catastrophe.

'They took him in as a baby and brought him up as their own. He was often in trouble and he got worse and worse as he grew into a teenager. Christian must have been 13 or 14 when Herr Bruecker, Fritz, had the car accident.

'As the man of the house it was Fritz who disciplined the boy. Christian needed a firm hand. But after the accident he could not do that any more.

'Brigitte, the mother did her best, but she could not cope with the boy and look after her husband. Christian had been in trouble and that is when he was sent to a reform school for delinquent teenagers in Wuerzburg.'

She added: 'Sadly Fritz, the husband is dead now. But his wife Brigitte did everything she could for him. She was awarded a medal.'






The former home of Christian Brueckner: Today neighbours of the couple in the village of Bergthei, where he grew up told of their shock that Brueckner has been linked to the murder of four-year-old Madeleine in 2007 


Another neighbour added: 'Brigitte is a lovely woman. I knew Christian but I have not seen him for years.

'If what I read is true it will destroy his mother. Brigitte and Fritz did everything they could for him when he was a boy.' 

Brueckner, now 43, is the key suspect in the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine from Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.  

He moved from Germany to the Portuguese coastal town in 1995 after serving part of a two-year sentence for molesting a six-year-old girl in Wurzburg. 

Following his naming by German police, he has further been linked to the disappearances of six-year-old boy René Hasse in the Algarve, 1996, and five-year-old girl Igna Gehnricke in Germany, 2015.

Now languishing in a German prison in Kiel, at the time of Madeleine's vanishing he was living in the area about a 10-minute drive away. 

In 2005, two years prior to the infant's disappearance, he raped a 72-year-old American woman on a waterfront villa less than a mile from the Ocean Club hotel where Madeleine went missing.

Prosecutors in Germany are now desperately trying to build a case against Brueckner, who is eligible for parole this weekend.