Police to Conduct Search of Portuguese Reservoir in Madeleine McCann Investigation
Authorities are set to initiate searches at a reservoir in Portugal as part of the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The Arade dam, located 50km from Praia da Luz where the toddler vanished in 2007, will be the focus of the search starting on Tuesday.
The request for the search was made by German police due to the fact that Christian Brueckner, a 45-year-old individual who was declared a formal suspect, or “arguido,” by Portuguese prosecutors in 2022, had visited the area when Madeleine, then three years old, went missing.
Madeleine, hailing from Rothley, Leicestershire, was on a family vacation in Portugal’s Algarve region when she disappeared on May 3, 2007. Portuguese authorities, in collaboration with British officers, will coordinate search efforts across the Algarve in the coming days, as stated in a press release.
Hans Christian Wolters, the German state prosecutor in Braunschweig, disclosed that the German authorities would issue a brief confirmation statement on Tuesday morning.
The search operation is expected to span Tuesday and Wednesday, with blue tents erected and roads leading to the man-made dam closed off. A team of 20 police officers has been assigned to conduct the search.
According to the state prosecutor, mounting evidence has linked Brueckner to the case, including mobile phone records indicating his presence in the Praia da Luz area at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.
Brueckner, a German national, is currently serving a prison sentence in Germany for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in 2005, which occurred in the same vicinity where Madeleine McCann went missing. He had been residing near the Praia da Luz resort during the McCann family’s vacation and spent considerable time in the area between 2000 and 2017.
In 2008, Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia financed the deployment of specialized divers to search the waterway after claiming to have received information from criminal contacts suggesting that Madeleine’s body might be in the reservoir.
The last search conducted in Portugal related to Madeleine’s disappearance took place in 2014 when British authorities were granted permission to examine scrubland near the location where she vanished.
Earlier this month, on the 16th anniversary of her disappearance, Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry, held a vigil to commemorate their daughter. In May, they also marked Madeleine’s 20th birthday, pledging to “never give up” on finding her.
On the official Facebook page of the Find Madeleine Campaign, they expressed their sentiments, stating, “Happy birthday Madeleine. Still missing. Still very much missed. Still looking. For as long as it takes. We love you and we’re waiting for you. We’re never going to give up.”