German prosecutors have opened an investigation into whether a 43-year-old man who has emerged as a possible suspect in the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal may have been involved in a similar crime in Germany. Prosecutors in Stendal, 60 miles west of Berlin, told the dpa news agency Friday they had opened a preliminary investigation to determine whether there was anything to link the man to the 2015 disappearance of a 5-year-old girl from a nearby forest. Authorities have not released his name, but he has been widely identified by the German media as Christian B, the AP reports. He reportedly had a property 60 miles southwest of Stendal, in the town of Neuwegersleben, when the girl disappeared. Madeleine was 3 at the time of her 2007 disappearance from an apartment while her family vacationed in the seaside town of Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve region.
German authorities this week said they had identified the German citizen as a suspect in the McCann case and are investigating him on suspicion of murder. The suspect, who is currently in prison in Germany, spent many years in Portugal, including in Praia da Luz around the time of McCann’s disappearance, and has two previous convictions for sexual contact with girls, authorities said. His description fits that of a 43-year-old man who was convicted in December in the city of Braunschweig of the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in her apartment in Portugal, based largely on DNA evidence. The suspect denied the charges during his trial and has appealed his conviction. According to a copy of the rape verdict, the German man is a career criminal who was in and out of jail. Records show his crimes included the sexual abuse of a child in 1994 and 2016.
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