‘The people I know won’t talk to the police’: Madeleine McCann investigator to return to Praia da Luz

Private investigator Julian Peribañez can’t let go of the Madeleine McCann case

Barney Davis
Saturday 11 May 2024 18:08 BST
Madeleine McCann would turn 21 this month
Madeleine McCann would turn 21 this month (PA)

The original private investigator hired by Madeleine McCann’s family is returning to the scene of the world’s biggest missing child case – the infamous holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.

This week would be Madeleine’s 21st birthday but the mystery of her disappearance appears to be no closer to being solved.

Julian Peribañez was part of the original private investigation firm Metodo 3 hired by the McCann family to explore leads that weren’t being considered by police in Portugal.

He revealed he is heading back to the family’s holiday apartment in Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, Praia da Luz, in the Algarve where Madeleine vanished on the penultimate day of her family holiday in 2007.

He is returning to chase leads, some stemming from the underworld, to seek answers he claims police would be unable to get.

Julian Peribañez is heading back to Praia Da Luz
Julian Peribañez is heading back to Praia Da Luz (Netflix)

The McCanns admitted they left the then three-year-old and her younger twin siblings asleep in their apartment while they went out to dinner with friends.

Mr Peribañez spoke after the Metropolitan Police was handed £192,000 by the Home Office for Operation Grange – their continuing investigation into the disappearance.

Mr Peribañez told The Independent: “The problem is that the only way to obtain information, in my opinion, is from certain people that would never speak to the police.

“The kind of person that knows what happened lurks in the underground of every city or town. I’m no one to say what to do to Operation Grange.

“I think it is good each one carries his own investigations. It would be great to be able to share between us, but I know how police forces work and I understand they won’t disclose any information.

“I’m happy to say if I find something relevant I will take that information personally to them.”

The view of the holiday hotel in Praia da Luz, from which Madeleine disappeared
The view of the holiday hotel in Praia da Luz, from which Madeleine disappeared (AP)

Mr Peribañez is pressing on with the 17-year search using money from his own pocket and has ruled out accepting any public donations.

He said: “I wouldn’t want people to think I do this with any economic interests.

“You know how people are and specifically in this topic and with the things that have happened, almost everyone who came near this case was acting in their own interest. Either to obtain fame, money or publicity.”

On the latest Home Office funding which will take the total that Operation Grange has spent to more than £13.2m, he said: “I think they will spend it correctly from their point of view as this is public money that is put under surveillance.

“But I know it’s hard to believe for people that this is money well spent. So many years have passed and they haven’t provided any further evidence in the case.

“Someone in Portugal has to know something. I will keep on looking for personal reasons, it’s a case that got deep on me for several reasons.”

The prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance is currently on trial in Germany charged with unrelated sex offences, allegedly committed in Portugal between 2000 and 2017.

The 47-year-old German, Christian Brueckner, spent many years in Portugal – including in Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

He is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Germany for the rape of an elderly woman at her home in the resort town in 2005. He had denied all the charges against him and any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

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