Madeleine McCann suspect 'may be linked to murder of German teenager'

The new suspect in the Madeleine McCann case could be linked to the murder of a German teenager, it is claimed.

Police are allegedly investigating whether convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 43, could be involved in the case of Carola Titze, 16, who was found dead on a beach in Belgium on July 11, 1996.

The young woman’s body was reportedly discovered after she went out for a walk on July 5 while on holiday with her parents in the municipality of De Haan.

She is said to have been in touch with a German man in the days before her death, with the pair allegedly seen at a disco together, according to The Telegraph.

The public prosecutor’s office in West Flanders, Bruges, have confirmed they are investigating whether Brückner could be involved, according to local newspaper reports.

It comes after the suspect was potentially linked to the disappearances of two other children.

The rapist is being investigated over the disappearance of Inga Gehricke, who was five years old when she vanished from a forest in Germany’s Saxony-Anhalt region on May 2, 2015.

Brueckner lived in a disused factory in the town of Neuwegersleben, around 60 miles south-west of Stendal, Saxony-Anhalt, when Inga went missing, according to German reports. 

Police allegedly looked for the little girl in the factory in 2016, but did not find her and the investigation was dropped. 

However, the German national was prosecuted after officers found child sex abuse images on a USB stick in the same search. 

Prosecutors in Stendal have reportedly said Brueckner is not currently a suspect in Inga’s disappearance – but they have confirmed they are probing possible connections between the cases of Madeleine and Inga. 

Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) is also said to have contacted the family of René Hasee, 6, who vanished in 1996, to say they are looking into his abduction once again. 

The little boy from Elsdorf, Germany, was last seen running ahead of his mother and step-father while on holiday with them in Aljezur on June 21, 1996.

Brueckner, who was already convicted of sex offences against children, was regularly living in the Algarve from 1995, detectives have claimed.

René’s father Andreas Hasee reportedly told German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger the phone call from police was the first time he had been contacted about the investigation in 20 years and ‘there could be a connection.’

The new alleged development comes after claims that investigators in Germany ignored warnings that Brueckner could have kidnapped Madeleine seven years ago.

Detectives identified the sex offender as a key suspect in 2013, but their intel was ignored by the country’s Federal Criminal Office, according to magazine Der Spiegel.

Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange force still considers the McCann case a missing person inquiry because there is no ‘definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead’.

However, German prosecutors have said they believe she is dead and are investigating Brueckner on suspicion of her murder.

Police have reportedly received nearly 400 tip-offs since Brueckner was named as a suspect.

A force spokesperson said today: ‘We have now received just short of 400 pieces of information. We are pleased with the amount of calls and emails coming in and we are assessing them and prioritising them.’

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