Police photograph digging site in Portugal as new search for toddler to end today


Portuguese, German, UK investigators in new ‘Maddie’ search

Portuguese, German and British investigators were searching the banks of a reservoir in southern Portugal on Wednesday, hoping to shed light on the disappearance of toddler Madeleine McCann back in 2007. After using tracker dogs and probes the previous day, police also hired a drone on Wednesday to comb the area.Portuguese television on Tuesday showed an area cordoned off around the Arade reservoir, nearly 50 kilometers (30 miles) from where the then three-year-old Maddie went missing in the Algarve tourist resort of Praia da Luz.Portuguese media reported the police had already combed the site in 2008 but divers found only animal remains, but have now begun a new search. In addition to police officers from the three countries concerned, the operation has mobilized gendarmes, firefighters and civil protection agents in the vicinity of the reservoir.The toddler vanished without trace from her parents’ holiday apartment in May 2007 as they dined with friends at a nearby tapas bar. The new search was launched at the request of German authorities, who have said since 2020 that they are convinced that the British girl is dead and suspect of involvement a German multiple sex offender who is in prison in Germany for a rape in Portugal. German judicial authorities say the man in question is Christian Brueckner, already serving prison time for sex offences but identified as chief suspect in the Maddie after spending several years living in southern Portugal.In June 2020, German prosecutors said they were investigating him as they had “concrete evidence” he killed Maddie.Despite a huge international manhunt, no trace of her has been found and no one has been charged over her disappearance. According to reports in the local media, the search operation could be concluded on Wednesday or extended to Thursday.lf/tsc/pvh/yad

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo