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22nd May 2023

Major Madeleine McCann development as cops begin new search

Steve Hopkins

The search is set to begin Tuesday and last a number of days

Police are set to search a remote Portugal reservoir suspect Christian Brueckner used to visit in the latest development in the case of missing Brit Madeleine McCann.

German police will on Tuesday start work at the Arade dam, which is located about 50km from where Madeleine went missing in Praia da Luz in the Algarve, 16 years ago, at age three.

Police have begun closing off roads leading to the man-made dam near the town of Silves, the Mirror reported, with the search set to last at least two days. It added that several local council lorries were spotted on the piece of land as tents and other structures were erected.

In another area just under a mile away, Portuguese Civil Protection workers were seen setting up a large blue tent alongside police who had mounted their own blue tent, the newspaper said.

Madeleine went missing a few days before her fourth birthday in 2007. Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, released a statement to mark her 20th birthday earlier this month, saying: “We’re waiting for you. We’re never going to give up.”

According to reports from Portuguese media, British police will be present during the new search.

The Mirror said Scotland Yard is only there with a “watching brief”.

The development comes at the request of German police, who announced in June 2020 that they believed Madeleine was dead and suspect Christian B was likely responsible for it.

The convicted child abuser and drug dealer reportedly used to visit the reservoir. He is currently in prison for raping a 72-year-old woman in the same area of the Algarve region of Portugal from where Madeleine went missing, but has not been charged with any crime related to the disappearance.

Christian has always maintained he was not involved in Madeleine’s disappearance.

The reservoir search is the first major operation of its kind since June 2014 when British police conducted digs and searches in Praia da Luz.

This time around, the Mirror reported, expert divers will examine the dam and digs will take place in nearby woodland.

The area which will be searched is the Barragem do Arade reservoir near Silves where a lorry driver claims he saw a woman handing a child-like Madeleine McCann over to a man two days after she went missing in 2007.

It was searched twice in February and March 2008 by divers hired by a Portuguese lawyer.

Gerry and Kate have previously been dismissive of suggestions their daughter could be at the reservoir.

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