Madeleine McCann, the British girl who disappeared in Portugal in 2007 aged just three, is dead, a German prosecutor said Thursday (June 4).
He identified an imprisoned German child abuser as the prime murder suspect.
McCann vanished from her bedroom during a family holiday in the Algarve. Her parents were dining with friends nearby in the resort of Praia da Luz.
Her disappearance sparked an international search, with many false leads and claimed sightings of the girl over the 13-year hunt.
This appears to be the most significant breakthrough yet.
The suspect, who wasn't named, is German, 43 years old, and lived near Praia da Luz at the time. He burgled hotels and holiday flats and dealt drugs, police said.
They believe he made a spontaneous decision to kill the little girl during a break-in of the holiday apartment.
This was prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters:
(SOUNDBITE) (German) BRAUNSCHWEIG STATE PROSECUTOR, HANS CHRISTIAN WOLTERS, SAYING:
"The accused has multiple previous convictions of sexual crimes. He had already been sentenced for sexual abuse of children. He is currently serving a longer prison sentence for other offences. Between 1995 and 2007 the accused regularly lived on the Algarve, among other places for some years in a house located between Lagos and Praia da Luz."
German police said they'd worked out how McCann was murdered, though no body has been found.
British police are still calling it a missing person inquiry.
Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said in a statement they'd never give up on finding their daughter alive.
But whatever the outcome, quote, "we need to know, as we need to find peace."