Search resumes for missing UK toddler Madeleine McCann

Police in Portugal were reported to be preparing to search at a reservoir some 50km (31 miles) from where the three-year-old went missing in 2007.

Vehicles and tents 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, in Silves, Portugal, in this screen grab from a video, May 22, 2023. REUTERS/Luis Ferreira
Vehicles and tents of Portugal's investigative Judicial Police are seen on May 22, 2023, at the site of a remote reservoir where a new search for the body of Madeleine McCann is set to take place, in Silves, Portugal [Luis Ferreira/Reuters]

Portuguese police will resume searching for Madeleine McCann, the toddler from the United Kingdom who disappeared in the country’s Algarve region in 2007, following a request from German authorities.

Portugal’s Judicial Police released a statement on Monday confirming local media reports that they would conduct the search at the request of the German authorities and in the presence of UK officials.

Portuguese television showed an area cordoned off around the Arade reservoir, located nearly 50km (31 miles) from where the then three-year-old went missing in the Algarve tourist resort of Praia da Luz.

Local media reported the police had already combed the site in 2008 but divers found only animal remains, adding the new search would begin Tuesday.

UK, Portuguese and German police are still piecing together what happened when the toddler disappeared from her bed in the southern Portuguese resort on May 3, 2007. She was in the same room as her two-year-old twin brother and sister while her parents had dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.

In mid-2020, Germany’s police identified Christian Brueckner, a 45-year-old German citizen who was in the Algarve in 2007, as a suspect in the case. Brueckner has denied any involvement.

The suspect is under investigation on suspicion of murder in the McCann case but has not been charged. He spent many years in Portugal, including in Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

Prosecutors in the northern German city of Braunschweig in October charged Brueckner in several separate cases involving sexual offences allegedly committed in Portugal between 2000 and 2017.

Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolter said on Monday that his office would release a statement about the case on Tuesday morning.

Portuguese weekly magazine Expresso has reported that the suspect would regularly spend time near the reservoir outside the small inland town of Silves.

Portuguese police ended 14 months of their investigations in 2008 after controversially saying the missing child’s parents were suspects before clearing them of any involvement. The case was reopened five years later citing “new elements”.

Madeleine’s disappearance stirred worldwide interest, with public claims of having spotted her stretching as far away as Australia, along with a slew of books and television documentaries about the case.

Rewards for finding Madeleine reached several million dollars.

 

Source: News Agencies