Madeleine McCann: will case be closed in 2022, what is Operation Grange - and latest on disappearance

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Operation Grange was set up in 2011 to look at the case of Madeleine McCann who disappeared in 2007

The Met Police probe into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is expected to end this year according to reports.

Operation Grange was set up in 2011, four years after the three-year-old vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal on 3 May 2007 .

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Madeleine McCann, who went missing on May 3, 2007 in PortugalMadeleine McCann, who went missing on May 3, 2007 in Portugal
Madeleine McCann, who went missing on May 3, 2007 in Portugal

Will the case be closed?

The Sun reported that a source said: “The end of the road for Operation Grange is now in sight.

“The team’s work is expected to be completed by autumn. There are currently no plans to take the inquiry any further.”

The Sun reported the source said the case file could be re-opened if any significant new information comes to light.

Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry are reportedly aware of the plans to close the investigation.

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Madeleine McCann's parents, Kate and Gerry, with an age progression photo of the missing girlMadeleine McCann's parents, Kate and Gerry, with an age progression photo of the missing girl
Madeleine McCann's parents, Kate and Gerry, with an age progression photo of the missing girl

What is Operation Grange?

Operation Grange, overseen by the Metropolitan Police, is estimated to have cost £13 million.

On 12 May 2011 the Met announced that, at the request of the Home Secretary, it had agreed to look at the Madeleine McCann case.

Given the case was beyond the Met’s jurisdiction the operation was subject to funding being made available by the Home Office.

Operation Grange, is led by the Specialist Crime Command unit and involved, in the first instance, an ‘investigative review’. This was a review of all of the investigations which had previously been carried out into Madeleine’s disappearance.

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In July 2013 the status of the Met’s enquiries changed to that of an investigation, working with the Portuguese authorities to pursue specific lines of enquiry.

The Portuguese authorities retained the lead in the investigation.

Funding for Operation Grange is provided by the Home Office. It has been reported that the Met has applied for a grant to keep funding the operation through to September.

The Met has continued to treat her disappearance as a missing persons investigation.

Christian B was named as the prime suspect in the case.Christian B was named as the prime suspect in the case.
Christian B was named as the prime suspect in the case. | Carabinieri Milano via Getty Ima

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What is the latest in the case?

German investigators have found new evidence against the prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, a prosecutor has revealed in an interview on Portuguese television on the 15th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance.

Hans Christian Wolters told Portuguese TV journalist Sandra Felgueiras on the TV channel CMTV: “The investigation is still going on and I think we found some new facts, some new evidence, not forensic evidence, but evidence.”

Earlier this year a team behind a new documentary claims mobile phone records puts the main suspect in the case “no more than 5 minutes away” from where she disappeared.

In 2020 German police named a main suspect, Christian B, as who they think is responsible for abducting and killing her, though he has never been charged, and denies any involvement in the case.

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He is serving a jail sentence in Germany for raping an elderly woman.

German TV channel SAT.1 says its team has found evidence which reveals Christian B was near the holiday resort shortly before three-year-old Madeleine went missing.

It claims he ‘repeatedly worked’ at the holiday apartments where the McCanns were staying.

Quoting a ‘reliable witness’, documentary makers SAT.1 allege he carried out “repair work” at the resort and was “very familiar” with the area.

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The TV crew claimed ‘on-site analysis of phone records showed that Christian B and his cell phone must have been no more than five minutes away from the Ocean Club [apartments] on the night of the disappearance.’

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