Since Madeleine McCann's 2007 disappearance in Praia da Luz, Portugal, many have been searching for answers about her whereabouts. On Wednesday, police identified a prime suspect, which her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, called a "very significant" development in the case.

According to Daily Mail, a 43-year-old named Christian Brueckner, a German pedophile and drug trafficker, was named. Described as a drifter, Brueckner was reportedly living in Praia da Luz when the McCanns left her in their hotel room and went to dinner on the evening of May 3, 2007.

Following Madeleine's disappearance, Brueckner was jailed for dealing drugs and "sentenced on numerous occasions to prison terms for sexual abuse of children in the past," according to Christian Hoppe, from the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA). He was later sent back to jail after raping a 72-year-old American tourist in Praia da Luz and is currently behind bars. 

In 2008, "Christian B" was dismissed as a suspect, according to a Portuguese detective, but Brueckner's activity in an online chat room renewed their interest in him. Previously, Goncalo Amaral, the former lead investigator on the McCann case, stated that it appeared as though he had had a conversation about Madeleine in the room years later.

Prior to the new development, another man was looked at as well. Martin Ney, a 48-year-old German man who is serving a life sentence for the abductions and murders of three children, had previously been looked at. Additionally, investigators had also discussed the case leading up to Wednesday's announcement, including their working theory at the time.

As stated by the publication, on the 10th anniversary of the three-year-old's disappearance in 2017, he also talked about Maddie when her face appeared on a television in a German pub. He allegedly then showed a friend a video of himself raping a woman as well. 

According to CNN, Clarence Mitchell, a family spokesperson for the McCanns, said that this is "the first time in more than 13 years that I can recall [police] focusing on one individual." He later added that they feel as though this is "another important chapter in the search for their daughter." 

Following the new development, Kate and Gerry also released a statement. After saying that they welcome the appeal, they wanted to "thank the police forces involved for their continued efforts in the search for Madeleine."

"All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice," it read, later adding, "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."

On Thursday, Hans Christian Wolters, from the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor's Office, stated that they "are assuming that the girl is dead," as reported by the BBC. However, police believe that others have "concrete knowledge" about Madeleine's disappearance, including where her body was left. UK authorities are offering a £20,000 (approximately $25,000) reward for information that could lead to a conviction. 

  Madeleine McCann Madeleine McCann disappeared on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007. Photo: METROPOLITAN POLICE/Handout