Authorities in Germany have “concrete evidence” that missing British girl Madeleine McCann is dead, Brunswick prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said on Wednesday.
“It is concrete evidence, facts that we have, not mere indications,” Wolters said, adding that he was unable to disclose exact information.
“We have no forensic evidence of Madeleine’s death, such as a corpse,” he said.
Police raised hopes early in June that the mystery over the disappearance of three-year-old “Maddie” could finally be solved when they revealed they were investigating a 43-year-old man over her disappearance from the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.
The suspect, who was not named by police but identified as Christian B by German media, has a history of previous sex offences, including child sex offences and rape.
Prosecutors had said they were working on the assumption that Madeleine was dead, although authorities in Britain had continued to treat her disappearance as a missing persons case.
Wolters said German authorities had written to Madeleine’s family but declined to give details of the content of the letter.
He also confirmed that Christian B had applied to be released early on probation from prison in Kiel, where he is currently serving a sentence for drug trafficking.
However, the suspect will not be freed from custody due to an arrest warrant for the rape of an elderly woman in Portugal, Wolters said.
Madeleine went missing from her family’s holiday flat on May 3, 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday, as her parents dined with friends at a nearby tapas bar.
Her disappearance sparked one of the biggest searches of its kind in recent years.
Despite a wide range of suspects and theories about what happened, no one has ever been convicted over her kidnapping and no trace of her has been found.