The prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case may not be charged despite police saying they have concrete evidence he's behind her disappearance and death.
Christian Brueckner, the prime suspect, was convicted for raping a 72-year-old American woman in Praia da Puz in Portugal, the resort McCann disappeared from in 2007.
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters claimed authorities had "concrete evidence" that the 3-year-old was killed and are "convinced of his [Brueckner's] guilt".
"We have concrete evidence that our suspect has killed Madeleine and this means she is dead," he said.
Police said they had phone data that put him close to the McCann apartment when Madeleine went missing.
But it has been revealed Brueckner could be freed from prison within weeks as he seeks parole following a drug-trafficking conviction.
Wolters has now told a local newspaper: "You have to be realistic enough that the investigation may not lead to a charge for the murder of Madeleine McCann.
"It could be stopped if we fail to find the missing evidence."
He told the Braunschweig Zeitung: ''I am currently unable to predict the outcome of our investigation but we are still convinced of the guilt of the accused and hope for further promising investigative approaches."
There are now fears he could go into hiding once he is released.
"Of course, it is always good to know where a suspect is to be able to access them if necessary. And, of course, detention always offers a certain guarantee that the detainee will not commit any further crimes," Wolters said.
But police are "hopeful of finding other victims who have been sexually assaulted by the suspect", regardless of whether they can charge him in the disappearance of McCann.
Currently, German police are trawling through 400 calls they received after an appeal aired on the country's equivalent of Crimewatch.
The case has now been passed to Germany's Federal Court in Karlsruhe and officials are expected to decide within the next week if he should be released.