Sniffer dogs and pickaxes are used by police in new searches of Madeleine McCann
Police have used sniffer dogs, rakes and pickaxes to comb the banks of a reservoir in Portugal as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Rescue divers were spotted early Tuesday morning on a rigid-hulled inflatable boat at the Barragem do Arade – some 30 miles from Praia da Luz, where the three-year-old went missing in 2007.
Officers focused their search on an area of the reservoir and set up white tents on a hillside by the shore.
Further around the water, responders and officers from Portugal, Germany and the UK were seen holding briefings near blue police tents.
In the search area, uniformed and civilian-clad officers spent several hours searching the banks, tilling the soil with pickaxes and combing through small rocks with rakes and spades.
A lane leading to the search area was cordoned off with police tape and marked vehicles belonging to the Portuguese Republican National Guard.
Portuguese police confirmed on Monday that they were coordinating searches in the Algarve at the request of German police and in the presence of British officers.
The Metropolitan Police said officers will be on site to update Madeleine’s family if there are any developments.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell said: “The Met continues to work with colleagues in Portugal and Germany and assist them with their investigations into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
“The officers met will be in Portugal and I am grateful to the Policia Judiciaria and the Federal Criminal Police Office for allowing us to be present while they work so that we can update Madeleine’s family of any developments.”
A brief statement from the public prosecutor’s office of the German city of Braunschweig confirmed the search but did not reveal why it took place.
Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolters told reporters that investigators acted on the basis of “certain indications” but declined to provide further details.
Four teams of officers from the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria are involved in the operation, along with at least 20 of their German counterparts, the Portuguese news agency SIC said.
It has been reported that the prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance, convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 45, spent time in the area between 2000 and 2017.
Investigators believe he killed Madeleine after kidnapping her from a vacation rental.
Brueckner, who has denied involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance, was initially identified as a suspect by German investigators.
The Sun reported that the search was launched after they discovered videos and photos of Brueckner near the reservoir.
A no-fly zone has been established over the water and members of the media and other onlookers are being kept a mile away from the search site.
Brückner faces charges in Germany for a number of different sex offenses allegedly committed in Portugal during the period.
It’s not the first time the reservoir has been searched.
In 2008, Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia paid specialized divers to conduct the search after he claimed to have been tipped off by criminal contacts that Madeleine’s body was there.
The last search in Portugal related to her disappearance was in 2014, when British police were given permission to search bushland near where she disappeared.
Earlier this month, Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann posted a brief statement on their Find Madeleine campaign website to mark the anniversary of her disappearance.
They said: “Today marks the 16th anniversary of the kidnapping of Madeleine.
“Still missed… still missed very much.
“It’s hard to find the words to express how we feel.
“The police investigation is ongoing and we are awaiting a breakthrough.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/madeleine-mccann-praia-da-luz-portugal-police-kate-b1083191.html Sniffer dogs and pickaxes are used by police in new searches of Madeleine McCann