"All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice," Madeleine's family said in a statement

Credit: AP

Thirteen years after Madeleine McCann went missing, British authorities have identified a German prisoner as a suspect in her case.

Madeleine, then just 3 years old, disappeared from her British family's vacation villa in the Algarve region of Portugal on May 3, 2007.

Though plenty of crime-watchers have long speculated about Madeleine's fate— and to this day, people claim to have spotted her in locations across the world, there are still no concrete answers.

Now, investigators say a 43-year-old German prisoner is the focus of Scotland Yard's investigation. The prisoner travelled around Portugal in a camper van around the time Madeleine went missing.

“It’s more than 13 years since Madeleine went missing and none of us can imagine what it must be like for her family, not knowing what happened or where she is," Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell with the London Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

"Following the ten-year anniversary, the Met received information about a German man who was known to have been in and around Praia da Luz...While this male is a suspect, we retain an open mind as to his involvement and this remains a missing person inquiry."

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According to Cranwell, who is leading the inquiry, the prisoner, who has not been identified, spent "days upon end" in his camper, living a "transient lifestyle" in the region between 1995 and 2007, according to the BBC. 

Madeleine McCann suspect vehicles
Credit: Metropolitan Police (2)

On the night of Madeleine's disappearance, the suspect was in the Praia de Luz area, where the McCanns were staying, and received a nearly 30-minute phone call. Cranwell called the other person on the phone call a "key witness."

"Some people will know the man we're describing today... you may be aware of some of the things he's done," he said. "He may have confided in you about the disappearance of Madeleine. More than 13 years have passed and your loyalties may have changed...Now is the time to come forward."

Investigators are also seeking information on his second vehicle, a Jaguar, that he transferred to someone else's name the day after Madeleine disappeared.

Following the announcement, Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, released a statement, saying, "All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice. We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know, as we need to find peace."

The suspect is described as white, with blonde hair, standing 6 feet with a slim build. He was 30 at the time but may have appeared to be in his late 20s. Police have not revealed what charges the suspect is behind bars for.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the London Metroplitan police.