Portuguese police have issued an apology to Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of Madeleine McCann, for the way their investigation into the missing toddler's case was conducted. Madeleine disappeared during a family holiday in the Algarve in May 2007, sparking a nationwide manhunt. At the time, the McCanns were made 'arguidos' and faced intense scrutiny from authorities.
The Portuguese police, who initially considered the McCanns as suspects, have now admitted that not enough importance was given to missing children at the time and acknowledged their failure to understand the position of the foreign parents. They have also expressed regret for the way the family was treated during the investigation.
The ongoing case now focuses on Christian Brueckner, a 46-year-old German national and convicted paedophile. German authorities accuse Brueckner of killing Madeleine, but he has yet to be formally charged. The apology from the Portuguese police comes as they provide updates to the McCanns about the ongoing investigation and express their support for the German authorities' efforts.
The McCanns had previously tried to sue the investigation's original lead detective, Goncalo Amaral, over claims made in his book, but their case was dismissed by the Portuguese supreme court. Amaral continued to insist that the couple are still suspects even after being removed from the investigation.
Despite the apology, the McCanns' search for justice continues. Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for the brutal rape of an American pensioner in Portugal in 2005, but he faces additional charges for other crimes, including the rape of a young Irish woman. German prosecutors have not yet formally charged Brueckner with the abduction and killing of Madeleine, but there are indications that a trial may take place in the near future.