Hans Christian Wolters, the German prosecutor leading the investigation into Christian B – the new prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has said it is possible the child is still alive. It comes after the cop claimed he thought the child, who went missing in May 2007, was dead.
Mr Wolters told the Mirror there is no forensic evidence to show Maddie is dead.
And despite previously saying he believes suspect Christian B killed her quickly, he said: “It was only personal opinion and speculation.”
Earlier this week the prosecutor said he believed the child had been killed.
He told The Times: “My private opinion is that he relatively quickly killed the girl, possibly abused her and then killed her.
“We believe our suspect committed further crimes, especially sexual crimes, in Portugal possibly but also elsewhere like Germany.”
The comments prompted Kate and Gerry McCann, the missing girl’s parents, to urge the German investigators to reveal the evidence that led to declare that she was dead.
A friend of the McCann’s criticised him last night, and said: “You shouldn’t say it if you don’t know for a fact.
“They said from the outset they’re treating it as a murder investigation.
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“Without that knowledge they will never find peace and they are still relying on the police to establish the facts around this particular lead.”
But in his latest comments on the investigation, Mr Wolters conceded there is “a little bit of hope” that she is still alive.
He told the newspaper: “Because there is no forensic evidence there may be a little bit of hope.
“We don’t want to kill the hope and because there is no forensic evidence it may be possible.
“I am surprised the fact we say or I say Madeleine is dead is so important for the British people.
“In Germany it’s more normal we investigate a murder in such a case, so it’s not so important. It’s more normal.”
Asked about saying Madeleine was killed quickly, he said: “That was private opinion and speculation… without facts. I said ‘I believe’ because in cases where children were kidnapped, they made a sexual crime then killed.’”
The McCann’s Portuguese lawyer, Rogerio Alves, heavily criticised the investigators for refusing to say what evidence they had to suggest Maddie is dead.
He said: “They need to know what’s going on. It’s a question of legality but also humanity. Of course they want to know. It’s cruel.”