Search in Madeleine McCann case uncovers ‘relevant clue’
A three-day police search of a remote Portuguese reservoir has reportedly turned up a “relevant clue” in the 2007 disappearance of British tot Madeleine McCann.
Portuguese authorities on Thursday wrapped up their search of the Algarve reservoir some 30 miles from the Praia da Luz resort, where the 3-year-old girl was last seen alive 16 years ago.
German sex offender Christian Brueckner, 45 — jailed in his homeland for an unrelated case — allegedly visited the reservoir “some days” after Madeleine vanished.
Portuguese Judiciary Police were tight-lipped about the outcome of the search, which involved sniffer dogs, digging equipment, a drone and a tree cutter, saying the effort “resulted in the collection of some material that will be subject to the competent expertise. The material collected will be handed over to the German authorities.”
Portuguese newspaper Correio de Manha (Morning Mail) reported that in the course of the search, cops came upon a “relevant clue,” but it’s unknown what it was.
Several items were reportedly removed from the Barragem do Arade dam area, including a bra strap, pieces of fabric and plastic items, but it’s unclear if they’re related to Madeleine’s case, the Mirror reported.
Police were reportedly searching for a gun and a camcorder that allegedly belonged to Brueckner — and had been stolen and then thrown away by two of his former accomplices in a petty-crime gang.
According to a jailhouse informant, the camcorder was believed to have footage of Brueckner torturing and raping an American woman and a teenage girl, the Daily Mail reported.
The latest search came after a request from German authorities and involved Portuguese, German and British detectives.
Work crews flattened a 160-square-foot area and dug 2-foot-deep holes. Additional holes were dug closer to the reservoir, which is less than half full because of a drought.
German prosecutor Christian Wolters said authorities would assess the outcome and may issue a statement as early as next week.
In 2020, German officials named Brueckner, who was in the Algarve in 2007, as a suspect in the toddler’s murder, but he has not been charged and has denied any involvement.
Brueckner is serving a seven-year prison sentence in Germany for raping a 72-year-old woman in Portugal in 2005.
The disappearance of the little girl has gotten worldwide attention, spawning several books and true-crime documentaries.
Police investigators in three countries are still trying to piece together what exactly happened the night Madeleine vanished from her bed on May 3, 2007. She was sharing a room at the Praia da Luz resort with her 2-year-old twin siblings while the children’s parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, had dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.
When Kate went to check on the kids around 10 p.m. that night, she found a window open and Madeleine gone.
Earlier this month, the McCanns shared a heart-rending tribute to their missing daughter on what would have been her 20th birthday.
“Happy birthday Madeleine! We love you and we’re waiting for you. We’re never going to give up,” they wrote on Facebook.