Madeleine McCann case: Christian Brueckner linked to secret compound owned by girlfriend
The Madeleine McCann case has seen a new breakthrough after investigators linked a secret compound to prime suspect Christian Brueckner. The convicted pedophile allegedly had access to the compound located in the Algarve region of Portugal, from where McCann, three at the time, disappeared in 2007. According to reports, the newly revealed compound belonged to Brueckner's former German girlfriend, Nicole Fehlinger.
Authorities learned of the compound from Fehlinger’s father, Dieter, who was recently interviewed for a second time by the British outlet The Mirror. “No one knows that my daughter not only had the private residence in Portugal at her disposal but also a separate compound,” he told the newspaper. “No one has ever searched there or the property has never turned up in connection with Maddie.” Overgrown with weeds and guarded by four “aggressive” Kangal dogs, this is the first time the compound has come into light in the decades spent in police's search for Madeleine.
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The toddler had disappeared from her bed in Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, in Portugal. With her parents continuing their extensive search for their daughter, who would be 17 now, McCann's whereabouts still remain unknown. In 2020, German prosecutors said that she was assumed dead by now, but the same year, in June, Brueckner was named the prime suspect in the kidnapping and presumed murder of the child, based on "concrete evidence" police claimed they had. The evidence has not been released to the public. Brueckner has denied any involvement in McCann’s disappearance.
Brueckner was first investigated into after an anonymous tipper told authorities in 2017 that he had made a drunken confession that he knew what had happened to McCann. When the German police looked into Brueckner, they discovered that he had a criminal past - including a case that would tie him to the same resort from which Madeleine was abducted. Brueckner first went to jail in 1992 for theft at 15, and was arrested in 1994 again for sexually abusing a child in Germany, before fleeing to Portugal. He was extradited back to Germany to serve his sentence, and following his release, he returned to Portugal to resume his life of crime.
It was reported that Brueckner was living in his house in Portugal during the time of Madeleine's disappearance; not just that, this house was only a mile away from the resort the child disappeared from. On the very night that McCann disappeared, Brueckner's cellphone had also received a call, pinning the device's location at or near the location of the McCanns' apartment.
The suspect also bolted from Portugal the very next day after McCann went missing. At the time, he placed his Jaguar in someone else's name and moved back to Germany to settle in the small town of Braunschweig. During a 2014 search of Brueckner's apartment, police found 391 photo files and 68 video files containing child pornography. He was charged with child pornography and for abusing a five-year-old and was sentenced to 15 months in prison for both crimes.
Later, the search of an abandoned factory once owned by Brueckner also led to the discovery of USB drives containing photos and videos of child abuse. Some of these images were even produced by Brueckner. Three different girls' swimsuits were found inside an RV owned by Brueckner which was on the factory grounds. Brückner is currently serving his sentence in jail in Kiel, northern Germany, after he was sentenced to seven years in prison in December 2019, for attacking a 72-year-old American woman in 2005. The elderly woman was living in the same resort that McCann disappeared from.