The 11-year investigation into the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann is set to end later this year, according to reports.
Operation Grange, the British taxpayer-funded probe launched four years after Madeleine’s 2007 disappearance from her family’s vacation rental in Portugal, will be shut down by London’s Metropolitan Police when funding runs out this fall, The Sun reported Saturday.
“There are currently no plans to take the inquiry further,” a source close to the matter told the outlet. “The end of the road for Operation Grange is now in sight. The team’s work is expected to be completed by autumn.”
The decision means there’s insufficient evidence to charge the prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance – convicted pedophile and rapist Christian Brueckner.
Funding for Operation Grange is set to expire on March 31, although another grant request by Metropolitan Police will see it through to September. The cost of the ongoing taxpayer-funded investigation now tops $17 million, The Sun reported.
Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are aware of the investigation’s looming closure and will likely continue their hunt for their daughter through private funding, according to the report.
The case is still considered as a missing person inquiry, although German cops believe Madeleine was murdered. In May 2007, the toddler, then 3, vanished from her family’s holiday rental in Praia da Luz, Portugal, setting off intense media coverage in Britain and beyond.
A former Metropolitan Police inspector said he believes it’s possible Madeleine – who would be nearly 19 — may still be alive, The Sun reported.
Brueckner, who is serving time for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old woman in the same area of Portugal when Madeleine went missing, has called the probe an “unbelievable scandal” and criticized German prosecutors for eying him without bringing charges.
Cellphone data suggests Brueckner, 44, was in the area at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance, The Telegraph reported.
A German television documentary also revealed Brueckner had regularly worked at the resort where the McCanns were staying when their daughter vanished, according to the newspaper.
Brueckner was named as the prime suspect in 2020 after he reportedly told a friend he was involved in Madeleine’s disappearance, but no charges were ultimately filed.