Portuguese police end latest search for clues to missing British girl: NPR

Police search teams prepare from an operation tent near Barragem do Arade, Portugal, Wednesday, May 24, 2023.

João Matos/AP

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João Matos/AP

Police search teams prepare from an operation tent near Barragem do Arade, Portugal, Wednesday, May 24, 2023.

João Matos/AP

LISBON, Portugal — Portuguese police have ended the latest search for clues to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the British child who disappeared in 2007 in southern Portugal.

Authorities gave no details of the search results on Thursday. A statement from the Portuguese Judicial Police said some documents had been collected and would be handed over to German authorities for review.

The search around a dam about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the resort town of Praia da Luz, where the 3-year-old was last seen 16 years ago, began on Tuesday following a a request from the German authorities.

A German suspect in the case is currently in prison in Germany for another case.

Portuguese, German and British police took part in the three-day operation during which detectives probed the banks of the Arade reservoir and also used sniffer dogs and a drone.

German prosecutor Christian Wolters told The Associated Press on Thursday that authorities would assess the success of the search after its conclusion, adding that a statement could be released next week.

Portuguese media said it was McCann’s fourth police search, following the first in 2007 in the southern Algarve region and further efforts in 2013 and 2014. Another search took place in Germany in 2020.

The reservoir is less than half full due to a drought affecting Portugal and neighboring Spain. The search would have been below the waterline in normal precipitation.

In mid-2020, German officials said a 45-year-old German citizen, identified by media as Christian Brueckner, who was in the Algarve in 2007, was a suspect in the case. Brueckner denied any involvement.

Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Germany for raping a 72-year-old woman in Portugal in 2005.

He is being investigated on suspicion of murder in the McCann case, but has not been charged. He spent many years in Portugal, notably in Praia da Luz, at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

The case of Madeleine McCann has attracted worldwide interest for several years, with reports of sightings of her reaching as far as Australia, as well as a wealth of books and TV documentaries about the case.

British, Portuguese and German police are still trying to piece together what happened the night the little one disappeared from her bed in the southern Portuguese resort town on May 3, 2007. She was in the same room as her twin brother and sister, who were 2 years old. elderly at the time, while her parents dined with friends at a nearby restaurant.

Madeleine’s parents had no comment due to the active investigation, according to an email response from the website set up to find the child, findmadeleine.com.


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