New search for Madeleine McCann, UK toddler missing since 2007, Portuguese police confirm
Portuguese police will begin searching for the body of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann, who disappeared 16 years ago, at a remote reservoir that suspect Cristian Brueckner visited.
Law enforcement has begun setting up the search perimeter around the Barragem do Arade reservoir near the town of Silves, in the remote Algarve region, Portugal’s Judicial Police said.
Officers were seen putting up tents and cordons around the area in a search that was requested by German authorities, who have named Brueckner as the key suspect in McCann’s disappearance.
The search for Madeleine, who was 3 years old when she went missing in 2007, will be the first major operation since 2014 — when British police were allowed to do an extensive probe along Portugal’s Priai da Luz coastal community.
The latest search, which will involve an expert team of divers, will likely start on Tuesday in the presence of British officials.
It is scheduled to go on for several days and will continue beyond that if any clues are found, officials said.
Madeleine, who would be 20 years old now, disappeared from her bedroom that she shared with her twin brother at a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on the evening of May 3, 2007.
German prosecutors have alleged that Brueckner, a convicted sex offender who was active in the area, was the likely culprit and murdered the child.
However, Brueckner has never been charged in Madeleine’s disappearance.
British toddler Madeleine McCann disappeared on May 3, 2007.
Prosecutors believe convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner kidnapped Madeleine.
ITALIAN CARABINIERI PRESS OFFICE
Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolter said he would release a statement about the case on Tuesday, when the search is set to commence.
A truck driver previously tipped off investigators that he saw a woman handing over a child who looked like Madeleine to a man at the reservoir two days after the child was reported missing.
The claim, and others similar to it, kicked off two searches at the location, in February and March 2008.
Those searches turned up two bags containing small bones, but officials said the bones were too small to be human, and Madeleine’s parents, Gerry and Kate, previously said there was no real evidence linking their daughter to the reservoir.
Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have previously said there is no connection between their daughter and the reservoir.
Officials will conduct a third search at the Barragem do Arade reservoir near the town of Silves, in Portugal’s Algarve region.Alamy Stock Photo
Portuguese authorities gather at a makeshift Judiciary Police base camp in the Arade dam area.LUIS FORRA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
They have yet to comment on the search being prepared.
The reservoir has not been searched since.
Brueckner has denied any knowledge of what happened to Madeleine. Last year, he claimed that he was having sex in a camper van at the time the child was abducted.
Madeleine is believed to have been abducted and killed, one prosecutor said in 2020.METROPOLITAN POLICE/AFP via Gett
Officers of Portugal’s investigative Judicial Police are seen at the site of a remote reservoir where a new search for the body of Madeleine McCann is set to take place. REUTERS
An Emergency Services vehicle carries wheelbarrows at the site of a remote reservoir.
Madeleine’s parents previously said there was no real evidence linking their daughter to the reservoir.LUIS FORRA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Brueckner is in prison for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old woman in Algarve, the same region where Madeleine was staying with her family when she disappeared.
He was additionally charged last year with three counts of aggravated rape and two instances of child sexual abuse that took place in Portugal between Dec. 28, 2000, and June 11, 2017.