New suspect in Madeleine McCann case once linked to Dutch boy's murder

Madeleine_McCann,_aged_three_and_(age-progressed)_nine Teri Blythe ()

A new key suspect in the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal in 2007, was once also a suspect in the murder of Dutch boy Nicky Verstappen in 1998, the Telegraaf reports.

The suspect in question is 48-year-old German pedophile Matin Ney. He was sentenced to life in prison for abducting and murdering three German boys in 1992, 1995 and 2001, and sexually abusing dozens of other children, according to Ney was in Portugal working on a project for homeless people when Maddie McCann disappeared, according to the news site. 

Ney was also a suspect in the murder of 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen in Brunsummerheide in 1998, the Telegraaf writes. Jos B. was arrested for Nicky's murder in August last year, after a months-long manhunt. He was identified almost 20 years after Nicky's murder through a large-scale DNA kinship investigation. Whether Ney is still suspected in the Verstappen case is not clear. B. denies having anything to do with the boy's murder. 

The news that Ney is now suspected in Maddie McCann's disappearance was brought out by a Portuguese newspaper a few days ago. Goncalo Amaral, the first detective that investigated the British girl's disappearance, said that the police were probing a "German pedophile who is in prison". 

According to, Ney strongly resembles descriptions of a man who was acting suspiciously and harassed other children in the Algarve area around the time of Maddie McCann's disappearance. This man's behavior was described in detail in a recent Netflix documentary on the McCann case, called 'The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'. Dressed in black and wearing surgical masks or a balaclava, he went into holiday apartments and harassed children. A then 7-year-old girl told the police that the man got into bed with her one night and said he was her dad, according to the documentary.

Madeleine McCann disappeared from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in May 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday. She and her younger siblings were alone in the apartment at the time, while her parents were having dinner with friends in a nearby restaurant. 

So far the McCann family has not responded to the news of a new suspect. But a family friend raised questions about the timing of this revelation. "Strange that the news about a possible breakthrough comes just when Maddie has been missing for exactly 12 years", the family friend said, according to the Telegraaf. 

British investigators are also hesitant. "There are still at least 12 suspects in sight. Yes, the masked intruder is one of them. The girls who were victims talked about surgical masks. And he smelled rather strange apparently. But we cannot yet say with certainty whether this man also bothered Maddie", detective Anthony Summers said.

Nicky Verstappen, murdered at age 11 in Brunssum in August 1998 (Photo: Politie)