Portuguese and German police have launched a search along a reservoir in the Algarve for Madeleine McCann after photos and video of the site were found in the possession of a man suspected of involvement in the child’s disappearance 16 years ago Were.
Officers with pickaxes, chainsaws and rakes began Tuesday morning to examine the barren site and surrounding woods by the Barajam do Arade reservoir in Portugal, which spread in a patch about 500 square meters in size.
Officers from the Guarda Nacional Republicana, a specialist Portuguese force, also assisted by using ground-penetrating radar equipment at the isolated location, about 30 miles from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine went missing days before her fourth birthday. Went.
The operation at the reservoir, which is expected to last two days, was requested by German police after they reportedly discovered photographs of Christian Brueckner in his self-described “little paradise” near the town of Silves.
Brueckner, who was jailed in 2019 for the rape of a 72-year-old American tourist a mile from McCain’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, was officially named as a suspect by Portuguese police , Or arguidolast year in the disappearance of the British toddler, who went missing from his parents’ holiday apartment at the Ocean Club resort in May 2007.
Last month, a German court said it was Sex crime lawsuit against Brueckner dismissed Allegations related to McCann’s disappearance, but it is also said to have taken place in Portugal, on the grounds that the area it is located in is not the last place in Germany.
He was on trial in Braunschweig for three counts of aggravated rape of women and two counts of child sexual abuse. The alleged offenses took place in Portugal between December 2000 and July 2017.
Madeleine’s parents, Gerry and Kate, have not commented on the new find, the first in the region since 2008 when bones of “non-human origin” were discovered in a bag.
Their daughter had gone missing from the bedroom she was sharing on holiday with her twin brothers Sean and Emily, then 18 months, while the couple, both doctors, had a tapas meal with friends in front of their holiday apartment on 4 May 2007 Was doing.
A German prosecutor, Hans Christian Wolters, said that the full reason for the search of the peninsula would remain secret until the results were known.
He said: “The measures in Portugal are linked to the Madeleine McCann proceedings, which means we are carrying out investigations based on some tips in Portugal. There is a major search operation underway which is being implemented by the Portuguese authorities.
“But there are also German officers from the Federal Criminal Police Office on site who are supporting the whole thing. I cannot disclose the background at this time, ie why we are searching there and what we expect to find there. Our secret will remain.
“If we find something and we think the results are publishable, we will certainly inform you about it. But give us some time. Action will also take some time. It will not be completed within two hours. And then do we find anything and what do we find, of course, we’ll have to see first.”
Portuguese broadcaster SIC reported that police would mainly focus their searches on the land and claimed that investigators were aware that Brueckner spent time in his camper van in the area and would “call it his little paradise and often spend the night here”. .
The Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha reported that German police had given their Portuguese counterparts videos and photographs taken by Brueckner of the area at the center of the search.
Police have set up two tents for their forensic teams where around 20 officers are concentrating on their search. The isolated area was designated a no-fly zone to allow investigators to use drones to detect signs of disturbance. The main road leading to the reservoir was blocked for traffic.
Earlier on Tuesday, a police motorboat was seen on the water with two officers on board. The large reservoir with an average depth of about 14 meters has so far shown no signs of diving activity.
German police said in June 2020 that Madeleine was presumed dead and that Brueckner, 45, was probably responsible for her disappearance. He has not been charged with any crime linked to Madeleine’s disappearance and has denied any involvement, although mobile phone records placed him close to the Holiday apartment on the night she disappeared.
It is the first major operation of its kind since June 2014, when the Metropolitan Police received permission from the Portuguese authorities to search Praia da Luz with dogs and ground-penetrating radar.
The Met continues to treat Madeleine’s disappearance as a missing persons case as part of Operation Grange. DCI Mark Cranwell said: “With the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the Met continues to work with and support colleagues in Portugal and Germany.
“Meteorological officers will be in Portugal and I am grateful to the Police Judiciary and the Bundeskriminlamat for allowing us to be present during their work, so that we can keep Madeleine’s family informed of any developments.”