Timeline of events: The mysterious disappearance of Madeleine McCann

At just three years old, British toddler Madeleine McCann disappeared while on vacation with her family in Praia da Luz, a resort town in Portugal on May 3, 2007.

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Madeleine McCann was just three years old when she disappeared while on vacation with her family in Praia da Luz, a resort town in the Algarve region of Portugal, on May 3, 2007.

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Despite extensive international efforts to locate her, Madeleine has never been found, and the case remains one of the most high-profile missing persons cases in the world.

The timeline of events leading up to Madeleine’s disappearance is as follows:

April 28, 2007: The McCann family, consisting of parents Kate and Gerry McCann who are affluent doctors and their three children, arrive in Praia da Luz for a week-long vacation.

May 3, 2007: The McCanns have dinner with a group of friends at the Ocean Club resort, where they are staying. After dinner, Kate and Gerry return to their apartment to check on their children, who are asleep. They discover that Madeleine is missing and immediately begin searching for her.

May 4, 2007: Portuguese police launch a search for Madeleine and begin interviewing witnesses. The media coverage of the case quickly becomes international, and the McCanns appeal for help finding their daughter.

May 14, 2007: Robert Murat, a British expatriate living in Praia da Luz, becomes a suspect in the case after being questioned by police. Murat denies any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

June 3, 2007: Portuguese police name Kate and Gerry McCann as formal suspects, or “arguidos,” in the case. The couple denies any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.

September 7, 2007: The McCanns are no longer considered formal suspects in the case.

July 21, 2008: Goncalo Amaral, the lead investigator in the case, is removed from the investigation due to public comments he made about the McCanns.

October 2, 2007: Portuguese police release their case files to the public, including witness statements and other evidence.

May 1, 2008: A new artist’s impression of a suspect is released based on statements from witnesses who reported seeing a man carrying a child on the night Madeleine disappeared.

May 3, 2011: The Met Police in the United Kingdom launch a review of the case, known as Operation Grange, at the request of the then-Prime Minister, David Cameron.

April 28, 2017: The 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance is marked by renewed media coverage of the case, and the McCanns release a statement thanking the public for their support.

March 15, 2019: ‘The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’ premiers on Netflix. It reportedly got views from over 30,000,000 Netflix accounts within the first 72 hours of release in the US.

June 3, 2020: German police announce that they have identified a suspect in the case, a 43-year-old German man named Christian Bruckner, who is currently serving a prison sentence for an unrelated crime. They appeal for more information from the public.

June 4, 2020: Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange, which has received £12.3 million ($14.8 million) in funding up to April 2020, remains a missing person investigation as investigators have not found conclusive evidence indicating whether Madeleine McCann is still alive or dead.

June 10, 2020: The McCanns issue a statement in response to the news of the German suspect, expressing their hope that the case will be solved.

May 4, 2021: Madeleine’s parents release a statement on the official ‘Find Madeleine’ campaign website expressing their enduring hope of being reunited with their daughter as they prepare for her 18th birthday on May 12.

April 21, 2022: Portuguese authorities designate Christian Brueckner as an “arguido,” a formal suspect.

May 3, 2022: The McCann family deems it “crucial” that they discover the truth about their daughter’s disappearance on the 15th anniversary of the event.

October 11, 2022: Brueckner, who is now 45, is accused of three rape offenses and two child sexual abuse charges, which are unrelated to the disappearance of Madeleine.

February 20, 2023: A 22-year-old Polish woman named Julia Wendel creates a social media frenzy by claiming that she has evidence that she is Madeleine.

The case’s complexity, including the involvement of multiple law enforcement agencies, false leads, and the persistence of the girl’s parents, has piqued the public’s interest. The case’s influence on child abduction laws and public awareness of missing children has also contributed to its notoriety.

Although Madeleine’s disappearance remains unsolved, it led to the emergence of numerous theories, speculations, and controversies over the years, further fueling public intrigue.

The investigation into her disappearance remains ongoing, and there is still no definitive answer as to what happened to her. However, the case has sparked renewed interest and speculation with the recent developments and continues to be a source of concern and heartache for her family and supporters around the world.

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