German prosecutor says clues to missing McCann child are possible at Portuguese dam site

ARADE DAM, Portugal — Police searching for clues to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the British child who went missing in 2007 in Portugal, were focusing their operations on Wednesday in several areas around a roadblock, including one where media say a prime suspect in the case often stayed.

The latest search for clues to the disappearance began on Tuesday following a request from German authorities. Around 30 Portuguese, German and British police officers are taking part in the operation at the Arade Dam, located around 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the resort town of Praia da Luz, where the 3-year-old girl was last seen times 16 years ago. There is.

In Germany, Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolters told German public broadcaster NDR: “We have indications that we might find evidence there. I don’t want to say what it is exactly, nor do I want to say where these indications come from.

“The only thing I would like to clarify is that it didn’t come from the suspect – so we don’t have a confession or anything like that now, or an indication from the suspect as to where he would be. logical to search,” Wolters said. , adding that “there are other clues that led us to carry out this research”.

But Wolters appeared to calm expectations of what might be found, saying: “We never said the girl was missing where we’re looking now.”

On Tuesday, police were investigating an area where Portuguese and Spanish media said the suspect had been staying around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

Officers could be heard using a power saw to clear trees and bushes in the area, which is across the reservoir from the base camp police set up on Monday.

Police have given no details on the progress of the search so far, but Portugal’s main daily Expresso said on Wednesday that the first day had ended with no significant results, adding that police had recovered some objects, including fabrics and clothing. He said that where the sniffer dogs reported, the ground was dug up, possibly indicating that biological traces were also being sought.

The search is expected to wrap up Wednesday or Thursday.

Detectives from all three countries are still trying to figure out what happened the night the little one disappeared from her bed in the southern Portuguese resort on May 3, 2007. She was in the same room as her brother and sister twins, who were 2 years old. at the time, while her parents were having dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.

Portuguese media say this is McCann’s fourth search, following the first in 2007 in the Algarve region and further efforts in 2013 and 2014. Another search took place in Germany in 2020.

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 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 reservoir is currently less than half full due to a drought affecting Portugal and neighboring Spain. Much of the searched area would be below water level in years with normal precipitation.

Madeleine’s parents are not commenting due to the active investigation, according to an email response from the website set up to find the child,


Ciarán Giles in Madrid and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.

ABC News

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