Police in Germany say they're now convinced Madeleine McCann was killed in Portugal instead of being taken overseas.
Investigators last year revealed German national Christian Brueckner, a convicted rapist, was their sole suspect in the disappearance of the British girl, who vanished 14 years ago at the age of three in the Portuguese holiday town of Praia da Luz.
Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said in December he was "very confident" on eventually charging Brueckner over Madeleine's death.
Police initially believed Brueckner, 44, may have taken Madeleine to Germany and his previous residences were searched last year.
However when Mr Wolters was asked by the Mirror where he believed she was killed, he responded: "In Portugal."
While German police are yet to reach a stage of being able to charge Brueckner, Mr Wolters said he was "optimistic we will solve this case".
New evidence in McCann case
Last week Mr Wolters told The Sun his team had gathered further evidence to support their case.
“We have gathered new evidence that adds further to the case we are building against our main suspect.
“I’m afraid I cannot tell you what it is but it strengthens our work.
“We are still building the case and at some time in the future we shall share the details with the suspect and his lawyer — but now is not the time."
Mr Wolters revealed last year a mobile phone number registered in Brueckner’s name connected to the mast of the Ocean Club where Madeleine was staying on the night of her disappearance.
Brueckner lived on and off in Portugal for years and spent considerable time in and around the Praia da Luz area.
He has previous child sex abuse convictions.
Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year sentence for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in Portugal.
Madeleine's parents harbour hope she is still alive
Last week Madeleine's parents delivered a heart-wrenching message on what would have been her 18th birthday.
“We love you and we’re waiting for you and we’re never going to give up,” they wrote.
Madeleine’s parents have long held hope their daughter will be found alive.
A week before Madeleine's birthday, in a message coinciding with the 14th anniversary of her disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann wrote of the years that had been "lost or stolen" with their daughter.
They added they "hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again".
London's Metropolitan Police continue to treat Madeleine's disappearance as a missing person inquiry.
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