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Madeleine McCann – latest news: ‘Shrine’ found at Algarve reservoir launched police search

A British couple claimed they found a makeshift shrine to missing Madeleine McCann at the Portuguese reservoir searched by police last week.

The couple, named only as Ralf and Ann, told the Mail on Sunday they found the “strange” shrine seven months after the toddler vanished 16 years ago.

The couple said they reported the shrine to Portuguese police but never heard back.

The shrine consisted of a row of stones pointing to a picnic site which was dug up by police last week, a bouquet of white lilies and a photograph of the missing toddler.

The retired couple, who regularly visit their holiday home near the Algarve reservoir, later reported the shrine to police after suspect Christian Brueckner was identified by German police in 2020, and gave a formal statement.

Ralf, 66, described the shrine as “very strange”.

Ann, 67, said: “Thinking about it now gives me goosebumps because when we saw where the police were searching the past few days you could see that’s where the row of stones was pointing to.”

Officers concluded their search of the Algarve reservoir on Thursday.

Key Points

  • ‘Relevant clue’ found in search of reservoir

  • How the search was completed

  • Key suspect Christian Brueckner visited reservoir ‘days after disappearance’

  • Portugal police give update as search of reservoir closes to an end

ICYMI: Madeleine McCann reservoir search: What do we know about Portugal’s Barragem do Arade?

09:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Police in Portugal investigating the disappearance of British citizen Madeleine McCann 16 years ago have begun searching a reservoir in the Algarve known to have been frequented by the latest suspect in the case.

Ms McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, was just three years old when she went missing from an apartment complex at the Ocean Club holiday resort of Praia da Luz in the municipality of Lagos on 3 May 2007.

Her case remains unsolved and is still the subject of intense public and press interest.

Her parents, doctors Gerry and Kate McCann, continue to campaign for her return and recently posted a poem remembering her on their Find Madeleine website, reminding readers that she is “still missing ... still very much missed”.

They added: “The police investigation continues, and we await a breakthrough. Thank you to everyone for your support – it really helps.”

What do we know about the reservoir being searched by Madeleine McCann investigators?

ICYMI: German prosecutor says clues to McCann child disappearance possible at Portuguese dam site

08:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

In Germany, Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolters told German public broadcaster NDR, “We have indications that we could find evidence there. I don’t want to say what that is exactly, and I also don’t want to say where these indications come from.

“The only thing that I would clarify is that it doesn’t come from the suspect — so we don’t have a confession or anything similar now, or an indication from the suspect of where it would make sense to search, ” Wolters said, adding that “it was other indications that prompted us to conduct this search.”

But Wolters appeared to calm expectations of what might be found, saying, “We never said that the girl disappeared where we are now searching.”

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

How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

07:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Sixteen years after Madeleine McCann vanished from the Algarve holiday apartment where she was sleeping next to her infant twin siblings, police have launched a major new search for evidence.

After laying dormant for several years since David Cameron kickstarted an ultimately fruitless Metropolitan Police inquiry in 2011, the case of the missing three-year-old was revived once more in 2020 when German prosecutors revealed a new suspect.

But three years on, 43-year-old convicted paedophile Christian Brueckner – who denies any connection to the missing youngster – is yet to be charged, as he languishes in a German prison for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman two years prior to Madeleine’s disappearance at the same resort.

How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

ICYMI: Madeleine McCann search: Police leave holes two feet deep as reservoir hunt ends

07:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Police hunting a remote reservoir in Portugal for evidence linked to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have left holes around two feet deep.

The three-day search was concluded on Thursday after officers were instructed to stand down at the Barragem do Arade reservoir in the Algarve.

The remote dam is located around 31 miles from the Praia de Luz resort- the hotel where Madeleine vanished while her parents were at dinner in a tapas bar with friends around 100 yards away from their holiday apartment.

As part of this investigation, police dug holes of around 60cm and these have been left, along with piles of soil, now that authorities have left the digging area.

The surrounding woodland showed pathways had been cut by heavy machinery, leading to the main flattened 160 square foot excavation area.

Police leave holes two feet deep as Madeleine McCann reservoir search ends

What are the accusations against Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner?

06:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Christian Brueckner was declared a prime suspect in the case of the disappearance of Madeleine by Portuguese police in April 2022.

Already in prison in Germany for the rape and murder of a 72-year-old woman, he has now also been charged with multiple sex offences which are alleged to have taken place between 2000 and 2007.

Police in Germany claim to have “concrete evidence” that the British girl is dead though this has not been proven.

A spokesperson from the Braunschweig prosecutor’s office previously said: “The accused is the same person against whom charges were brought in connection with the disappearance of the then three-year-old British girl Madeleine Beth McCann.

“Specifically, the accused is charged with three offences of aggravated rape and two offences of sexual abuse of children.

“The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann continues.”

The charges mentioned do not relate to the McCann case. But in May German police claim to have found new evidence linked to Madeleine inside a van belonging to Brueckner.

Brueckner has denied any involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

ICYMI: Madeleine McCann reservoir search: What do we know about Portugal’s Barragem do Arade?

05:50 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Police in Portugal investigating the disappearance of British citizen Madeleine McCann 16 years ago have begun searching a reservoir in the Algarve known to have been frequented by the latest suspect in the case.

Ms McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, was just three years old when she went missing from an apartment complex at the Ocean Club holiday resort of Praia da Luz in the municipality of Lagos on 3 May 2007.

Her case remains unsolved and is still the subject of intense public and press interest.

Her parents, doctors Gerry and Kate McCann, continue to campaign for her return and recently posted a poem remembering her on their Find Madeleine website, reminding readers that she is “still missing ... still very much missed”.

They added: “The police investigation continues, and we await a breakthrough. Thank you to everyone for your support – it really helps.”

What do we know about the reservoir being searched by Madeleine McCann investigators?

Madeleine McCann case: Timeline of the missing child’s disappearance

05:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Kate and Gerry McCann’s eldest daughter vanished from Portuguese holiday resort 16 years ago but emergence of new suspect has brought fresh hope of answers and closure:

What happened to Madeleine McCann?

‘The world believes I killed Maddie, I didn’t’

04:51 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A suspect in the Madeleine McCann case has claimed he “didn’t” abduct and murder the girl, MailOnline has reported.

In a series of letters, Christian Brueckner – a convicted German rapist – is reportedly saying “I am not a monster” and claiming that he had nothing to do with the abduction or murder of then three-year-old Madeleine McCann.

“The world believes I killed Maddie, I didn’t”, he wrote in the neatly written letters, according to MailOnline.

British couple ‘found Madeleine McCann shrine’ at Portugal reservoir searched by police

04:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A British couple claim to have found a ‘shrine’ to missing Madeleine McCann in an area close to the desolate reservoir in Portugal searched by police earlier this week.

The retired pair say they discovered a makeshift memorial, consisting of a photograph of the missing toddler surrounded by flowers and stones, at Christmas in 2007. The three year-old had vanished from a holiday resort in Portugal in May that year.

The husband and wife, named only as Ralf and Ann, say they took photographs of it and sent them to Portuguese detectives but never heard anything back. Just days later, the ‘shrine’ had disappeared, they claim.

The couple say they didn’t think anything else of the “weird” incident until three years ago when Christian Brueckner was first identified by German authorities. He was named by Portuguese authorities as a formal suspect in 2022.

Ralf told the Mail on Sunday: “I immediately contacted the BKA in Germany and told them what we had and I had a reply back within a few hours.”

How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

Sunday 28 May 2023 23:59 , Joe Middleton

Sixteen years after Madeleine McCann vanished from the Algarve holiday apartment where she was sleeping next to her infant twin siblings, police have launched a major new search for evidence.

After laying dormant for several years since David Cameron kickstarted an ultimately fruitless Metropolitan Police inquiry in 2011, the case of the missing three-year-old was revived once more in 2020 when German prosecutors revealed a new suspect.

How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

British couple ‘found Madeleine McCann shrine’ at Portugal reservoir searched by police

Sunday 28 May 2023 23:45 , Joe Middleton

A British couple claim to have found a ‘shrine’ to missing Madeleine McCann in an area close to the desolate reservoir in Portugal searched by police earlier this week.

The retired pair say they discovered a makeshift memorial, consisting of a photograph of the missing toddler surrounded by flowers and stones, at Christmas in 2007. The three year-old had vanished from a holiday resort in Portugal in May that year.

The husband and wife, named only as Ralf and Ann, say they took photographs of it and sent them to Portuguese detectives but never heard anything back. Just days later, the ‘shrine’ had disappeared, they claim.

UK couple claim to have ‘found Madeleine McCann shrine’ at reservoir police searched

ICYMI: Madeleine McCann: Sniffer dogs and pickaxes used to scour reservoir

Sunday 28 May 2023 22:45 , Joe Middleton

Madeleine McCann case: Timeline of the missing child’s disappearance

Sunday 28 May 2023 21:44 , Joe Middleton

Kate and Gerry McCann’s eldest daughter vanished from Portuguese holiday resort 16 years ago but emergence of new suspect has brought fresh hope of answers and closure, writes Joe Sommerlad.

What happened to Madeleine McCann?

Full story: What we know about the Barragem do Arade reservoir

Sunday 28 May 2023 20:00 , Sam Rkaina

The dam that was searched is situated approximately 31 miles northeast of the coastal resort from which Madeleine disappeared.

It was constructed in 1955 and is fed by the 35-mile-long Arade river.

Its waters were previously searched in 2008 by specialist divers paid for by Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia, who claimed to have been tipped off by criminal contacts that the girl’s body was in the waterway.

On Monday 22 May, investigators sealed off a mile-long peninsula jutting into the reservoir and began setting up makeshift blue tents to serve as a base of operations.

Click here for the full story.

Portuguese police investigators dismantle base camp at the end of the three-day search for remains of Madeleine McCann (Getty Images)
Portuguese police investigators dismantle base camp at the end of the three-day search for remains of Madeleine McCann (Getty Images)

Why were police searching the Barragem do Arade reservoir in Portugal?

Sunday 28 May 2023 17:00 , Martha Mchardy

Police in Portugal investigating the disappearance of British citizen Madeleine McCann 16 years ago ended a three-day search of the Barragem do Arade reservoir in the Algarve on Thursday.

The reservoir is known to have been frequented by the latest suspect in the case Christian Brueckner.

According to Portuguese broadcaster SIC, the suspect considered the area his “little slice of paradise”.

A brief statement from the office of German prosecutor Christian Wolters confirmed the search, saying investigators were acting in response to “certain tips”.

Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal (PA)
Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal (PA)

He later confirmed investigators were looking for a body, but also for anything that could help the investigation, such as clothing.

A Daily Mail report suggested police are seeking traces of the pink pyjamas Madeleine was wearing on the day of her disappearance.

Mr Wolters said he did not expect the results of the studies of the collected samples to be announced any time soon.

The reservoir’s waters were previously searched in 2008 by specialist divers paid for by Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia, who claimed to have been tipped off by criminal contacts that the girl’s body was in the waterway.

The dam searched by police is situated approximately 31 miles northeast of the coastal resort from which Madeleine disappeared in 2007.

ICYMI: Police give update as they end search of Portugal reservoir

Sunday 28 May 2023 16:00 , Martha Mchardy

A three-day search of the Barragem do Arade reservoir in the Algarve came to an end on Thursday, as police issued an update.

Police have said materials unearthed during a three-day hunt for evidence over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann at a remote reservoir in Portugal are being sent off for analysis.

A source close to the investigation told Reuters there was nothing tangible to report, while German prosecutor Christian Wolters played down hopes of a breakthrough, saying: “Of course, there is a certain expectation, but it is not high.”

William Mata reports:

Madeleine McCann police give update as they end search of Portugal reservoir

What are the accusations against Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner?

Sunday 28 May 2023 15:00 , Martha Mchardy

Christian Brueckner was declared a prime suspect in the case of the disappearance of Madeleine by Portuguese police in April 2022.

Already in prison in Germany for the rape and murder of a 72-year-old woman, he has now also been charged with multiple sex offences which are alleged to have taken place between 2000 and 2007.

Police in Germany claim to have “concrete evidence” that the British girl is dead though this has not been proven.

Madeleine McCann (PA)
Madeleine McCann (PA)

A spokesperson from the Braunschweig prosecutor’s office previously said: “The accused is the same person against whom charges were brought in connection with the disappearance of the then three-year-old British girl Madeleine Beth McCann.

“Specifically, the accused is charged with three offences of aggravated rape and two offences of sexual abuse of children.

“The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann continues.”

The charges mentioned do not relate to the McCann case. But in May German police claim to have found new evidence linked to Madeleine inside a van belonging to Brueckner.

Brueckner has denied any involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

ICYMI: Footage shows holes in the ground in Portugal as search ends

Sunday 28 May 2023 13:50 , Martha Mchardy

Police flattened a concentrated area of woodland and dug a number of holes near a remote reservoir in Portugal as part of their three-day hunt for evidence in the Madeleine McCann case.

Huge piles of soil and broken rock were left next to the 160 sq ft area close to the banks of the Barragem do Arade, where officers were seen with shovels for a number of hours on Wednesday afternoon (24 May).

Portuguese police confirmed the search concluded on Thursday, and said materials had been sent to Germany for testing.

Footage shows holes in the ground in Portugal after Madeleine McCann reservoir search

Other cases Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has been linked to

Sunday 28 May 2023 12:50 , Martha Mchardy

The prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann Christian Brueckner has been linked to other disappearances of children, including a boy, six, in Portugal in 2000, a five-year-old girl in Germany in 2015 and a number of others.

In 2020, he was being investigated over the rape and murder of Tristan Brübach, a 15-year-old boy from Germany.

Belgian authorities have also linked him to the murder of teenager Carola Titze, 16. She went missing while on holiday in De Haan, Belgium on July 5, 1996 and her body was discovered among sand dunes severely mutilated on July 11.

Other cases believed to be linked to Brueckner include that of Inga Gehrike who went missing from Saxony-Anhalt in Germany on May 2, 2015, René Hasee, six, who vanished while on a family holiday in Aljezur, Portugal on June 21, 1996 and Jair Soares who disappeared in August 1995.

Peggy Knobloch’s case has also been linked to Brueckner after she went missing in May 2001.

Brueckner has denied any involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Who is Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner?

Sunday 28 May 2023 11:50 , Martha Mchardy

Madeleine McCann’s disappearance has puzzled detectives for more than 15 years – but in 2020 a new potential suspect emerged.

German prisoner Christian Brueckner was first named in connection with the unsolved mystery that summer, and officially named as a suspect last year. His yellow and white VW T3 Westfalia campervan was reportedly identified as having been near to the Praia da Luz resort in Portugal where the young girl went missing on May 3, 2007.

German prisoner Christian Brueckner is a prolific burglar and has been previously convicted for sex crimes against young girls.

Christian Brueckner (Reuters)
Christian Brueckner (Reuters)

He was born in Germany in 1976 and moved to Portugal in his late teens.

It is believed he lived there between 1995 and 2007 working in the food industry.

Brueckner is described as being about 6ft tall, slim and white with short blond hair.

Lucy Skoulding reports:

All we know about Madeleine McCann suspect Brueckner and the accusations against him

'Shrine’ found at Algarve reservoir searched by police

Sunday 28 May 2023 08:49 , Martha Mchardy

A British couple has claimed they found a makeshift shrine to missing Madeleine McCann at the Portuguese reservoir searched by police last week.

The couple, named only as Ralf and Ann, told the Mail on Sunday they found the “strange” shrine seven months after the toddler vanished 16 years ago.

The shrine consisted of a row of stones pointing to a picnic site which was dug up by police last week, a bouquet of white lilies and a photograph of the missing toddler.

The retired couple, who regularly visit their holiday home near the Algarve reservoir, took photographs of the shrine and sent them to Portuguese police in 2007, but never heard back.

The couple then reported the shrine to police after suspect Christian Brueckner was identified by German police in 2020, and were contacted by German detectives to give a formal statement.

Ralf, 66, said German police “wanted to know everything that we had seen and then they asked me to send them the pictures and they sent a map of the reservoir, asking me to point out where the stones were.

“The German police were very interested in what we had.”

The 66-year-old described the shrine as “very strange”.

Ann, 67, said: “Thinking about it now gives me goosebumps because when we saw where the police were searching the past few days you could see that’s where the row of stones was pointing to.”

“Back then when we found it the whole thing was just so weird. At the time I thought, ‘has someone dumped Madeleine in the water and then come back to make a shrine in her memory?’ It was so odd.”

Officers concluded their search of the Algarve reservoir on Thursday, where Christian Brueckner reportedly visited “some days” after the three-year-old vanished on May 3, 2007.

Brueckner has denied any involvement.

How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

Saturday 27 May 2023 21:37 , Sam Rkaina

The fresh search at the reservoir – one of six in the Algarve – is the first in Portugal since 2014, and comes as the Metropolitan Police were granted a further £110,000 by the Home Office to fund their search for Madeleine, who would turn 20 this month.

It brings the total amount spent on the search for the Leicestershire-born girl, codenamed Operation Grange, to just shy of £13.1m since 2011, and is significantly less than the more than £300,000 approved by the Home Office the year prior.

While the costs incurred by German and Portuguese authorities are unknown, Lisbon’s then-attorney general Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro said in 2012 that the search for Madeleine had been the most expensive in the country’s history.

 (PA Media)
(PA Media)

Investigators downplay hopes of breakthrough after search

Saturday 27 May 2023 20:29 , Sam Rkaina

As police concluded their three-day search on Thursday, they confirmed “materials collected” had been sent to Germany for analysis.

But a source close to the investigation told Reuters there was nothing tangible to report, while German prosecutor Christian Wolters played down hopes of a breakthrough, saying: “Of course, there is a certain expectation, but it is not high.”

He added that the investigators were looking for a body, but also for anything that could help the investigation, such as clothing.

Mr Wolters said he did not expect the results of the studies of the collected samples to be announced any time soon.

Timeline of the search part 3: The 2020s

Saturday 27 May 2023 19:32 , Sam Rkaina

2020

– June 3: Police reveal that a 43-year-old German prisoner, later named as Christian Brueckner, has been identified as a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.

– June 4: Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange, which had received £12.3 million in funding up to April 2020, is still a missing person inquiry as detectives have no “definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead”.

2021

– May 4: Kate and Gerry McCann post a statement on the official Find Madeleine campaign website saying they still cling to the hope of seeing their daughter again as they prepare to mark her 18th birthday on May 12.

2022

– April 21: Christian Brueckner is made an “arguido”, a formal suspect, by Portuguese authorities.

– May 3: The McCann family say it is “essential” they learn the truth of what happened to their daughter on the 15th anniversary of her disappearance.

– October 11: Brueckner, now 45, is charged with three counts of rape and two charges of child sex abuse, unrelated to Madeleine’s disappearance.

2023

– May 3: Kate and Gerry McCann mark the 16th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance by saying she is “still very much missed” and that they “await a breakthrough”.

– May 22: An area near the Barragem do Arade reservoir, about 30 miles from Praia da Luz, is sealed off as police prepare to start searching on May 23.

– May 23: Searches begin with police divers in the water, and teams including officers with sniffer dogs and rakes and metal poles seen working on the banks. Media and onlookers are kept a mile away from the main search area and a no fly zone is imposed over the water.

– May 25: Police end their three-day search and say materials unearthed during the hunt for evidence over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann at the remote reservoir in Portugal are being sent for analysis.

Timeline of search part 2: the 2010s

Saturday 27 May 2023 18:35 , Sam Rkaina

2011

– May 12: Mrs McCann publishes a book about her daughter’s disappearance, on Madeleine’s eighth birthday.

Scotland Yard launches a review of the case after a request from Home Secretary Theresa May, supported by then-prime minister David Cameron.

2012

– April 25: Scotland Yard detectives say they believe Madeleine could still be alive, release an age-progression picture of how she might look as a nine-year-old, and call on the Portuguese authorities to reopen the case, but Portuguese police say they have found no new material.

2013

– July 4: Scotland Yard confirms it has launched its own investigation, Operation Grange, into Madeleine’s disappearance two years into a review of the case. It has “genuinely new” lines of inquiry and has identified 38 people of interest, including 12 Britons.

– October 24: Portuguese police confirm that a review of their original investigation has uncovered new lines of inquiry, and they reopen the case.

2014

– January 29: British detectives fly to Portugal amid claims they are planning to make arrests.

– June 3: Sniffer dogs and specialist teams are used to search an area of scrubland close to where Madeleine went missing.

– December 12: Detectives begin questioning 11 people who it is thought may have information on the case.

2015

– September 16: The Government discloses that the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine has cost more than £10 million.

– October 28: Scotland Yard cuts the number of officers working on the inquiry from 29 to four.

2017

– April 30: The McCanns prepare to mark 10 years since their daughter’s disappearance with a BBC interview in which they vow to do “whatever it takes for as long as it takes” to find her.

2019

– May 3: Local media reports say Portuguese detectives are investigating a foreign paedophile as a suspect in the abduction of Madeleine.

Timeline of main events since Madeleine McCann disappeared: part 1

Saturday 27 May 2023 17:27 , Sam Rkaina

As the three-day hunt for evidence in and around a reservoir in Portugal has ended, here is a timeline of key events since the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

2007

– May 3: Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, leave their children asleep in their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in southern Portugal while they dine with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.

Nothing is amiss when Mr McCann checks on the youngsters just after 9pm, but when his wife goes back at about 10pm she finds Madeleine missing.

Jane Tanner, one of the friends dining with the McCanns, reports having seen a man carrying a child earlier that night.

– May 14: Detectives take Anglo-Portuguese property developer Robert Murat in for questioning and make him an “arguido”, or formal suspect, but this is later withdrawn.

– August 11: Exactly 100 days after Madeleine disappeared, investigating officers publicly acknowledge for the first time that she could be dead.

– September 7: During questioning of Mr and Mrs McCann, detectives make them both “arguidos” in their daughter’s disappearance.

– September 9: The McCanns fly back to England with their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.

2008

– July 21: The Portuguese authorities shelve their investigation and lift the “arguido” status of the McCanns and Robert Murat.

The three-day search in pictures

Saturday 27 May 2023 16:32 , Tara Cobham

Police officers are seen at the site of a remote reservoir where a search was underway for evidence related to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (REUTERS)
Police officers are seen at the site of a remote reservoir where a search was underway for evidence related to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (REUTERS)
Portuguese Judicial Police (PJ) criminal investigation unit members leave the base camp set near the Arade dam in Silves on May 25 (AFP via Getty Images)
Portuguese Judicial Police (PJ) criminal investigation unit members leave the base camp set near the Arade dam in Silves on May 25 (AFP via Getty Images)
Portuguese police investigators dismantle base camp at the end of the three-day search for remains of Madeleine McCann (Getty Images)
Portuguese police investigators dismantle base camp at the end of the three-day search for remains of Madeleine McCann (Getty Images)

Analysis of materials discovered ‘will take several weeks'

Saturday 27 May 2023 14:13 , Tara Cobham

The analysis of the materials gathered in the new search in the Madeleine McCann investigation will take several weeks, according to a German prosecutor.

Speaking to the BBC, Braunschweig prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters also said there had been good reason to scour the Arade reservoir area in the Algarve

He continued: “We work continuously on this case but not everything we do is made public. We continuously investigate and interview.

“There are repeated searches, not all of them are in the eye of the public like this one was. Much of what we’re doing you won’t notice.”

And he added: “Nothing has changed with regard to our suspect in the last three years. We have found nothing in the last three years that would contradict our suspicion.

“We haven’t found anything which would exonerate him. We’ve found nothing which would rule him out. We haven’t yet disclosed all the evidence against him and we don’t want to do that now.

“Of course, you can rightly assume that within the last three years various pieces of the puzzle were added but it’s not the right time for us to publish that.”

ICYMI: Who is suspect Christian Brueckner?

Saturday 27 May 2023 09:31 , Tara Cobham

Madeleine McCann’s disappearance has puzzled detectives for more than 15 years – but in 2020 a new potential suspect emerged. Now, police are searching a remote reservoir in Portugal’s the Algarve that he used to visit in a renewed effort to shed further light on the case.

German prisoner Christian Brueckner was first named in connection with the unsolved mystery that summer, and officially named as a suspect last year. His yellow and white VW T3 Westfalia campervan was reportedly identified as having been near to the Praia da Luz resort in Portugal where the young girl went missing on May 3, 2007.

Three-year-old Madeleine disappeared from the bed of her holiday apartment while her parents and family friends dined 180 feet away. Her two-year-old twin siblings were also in the apartment she went missing from. Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann have been searching for answers ever since.

The Metropolitan Police took over the investigation, Operation Grange, in 2011 but they hit dead ends. There has not been another significant suspect in the case since 2007 until Brueckner.

Lucy Skoulding reports:

All we know about Madeleine McCann suspect Brueckner and the accusations against him

ICYMI: Police leave holes two feet deep as reservoir hunt ends

Saturday 27 May 2023 00:00 , Martha Mchardy

Police hunting a remote reservoir in Portugal for evidence linked to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have left holes around two feet deep.

As part of this investigation, police dug holes of around 60cm and these have been left, along with piles of soil, now that authorities have left the digging area.

The surrounding woodland showed pathways had been cut by heavy machinery, leading to the main flattened 160 square foot excavation area.

Broken rocks were also scattered around the site in Portugal, after pickaxes were seen used by personnel over the course of three days.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain reports:

Police leave holes two feet deep as Madeleine McCann reservoir search ends

In pictures: Scene of Madeleine McCann police search

Friday 26 May 2023 23:00 , Martha McHardy

Portuguese police investigators dismantle base camp at the end of the three-day search for remains of Madeleine McCann (Getty Images)
Portuguese police investigators dismantle base camp at the end of the three-day search for remains of Madeleine McCann (Getty Images)
Holes dug apparently for soil samples in the area around Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, after the area was reopened to media (PA)
Holes dug apparently for soil samples in the area around Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, after the area was reopened to media (PA)
The area around Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal (PA)
The area around Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal (PA)

ICYMI: Madeleine McCann police give update as they end search of Portugal reservoir

Friday 26 May 2023 22:00 , Martha Mchardy

Police have said materials unearthed during a three-day hunt for evidence over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann at a remote reservoir in Portugal are being sent off for analysis.

Authorities have been scouring Barragem do Arade reservoir in the Algarve this week, using sniffer dogs and cutting down trees as part of the search inland from the coastal resort where the then-three-year-old went missing in 2007.

As police concluded their three-day search on Thursday, they confirmed “materials collected” had been sent to Germany for analysis.

A source close to the investigation told Reuters there was nothing tangible to report, while German prosecutor Christian Wolters played down hopes of a breakthrough, saying: “Of course, there is a certain expectation, but it is not high.”

William Mata reports:

Madeleine McCann police give update as they end search of Portugal reservoir

How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

Friday 26 May 2023 21:00 , Martha Mchardy

The fresh search at the reservoir – one of six in the Algarve – is the first in Portugal since 2014, and comes as the Metropolitan Police were granted a further £110,000 by the Home Office to fund their search for Madeleine, who would turn 20 this month.

It brings the total amount spent on the search for the Leicestershire-born girl, codenamed Operation Grange, to just shy of £13.1m since 2011, and is significantly less than the more than £300,000 approved by the Home Office the year prior.

Andy Gregory reports:

How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

Madeleine McCann case: Timeline of the missing child’s disappearance

Friday 26 May 2023 20:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Here is a reminder of the events of the case:

The story began when the McCanns – affluent doctors Kate and Gerry, their three-year-old daughter Madeleine and her two-year-old twin siblings – joined a group of seven family friends and their five children on holiday at the Ocean Club in the village of Praia da Luz on the southwestern tip of Portugal on 28 April 2007.

After a pleasant spring break by the sea, the adults in the party went out for dinner at the resort’s open-air tapas bar on 3 May, gathering at 8.30pm. The children were left behind sleeping in their respective apartments with the doors unlocked and a rota system in place among the parents to ensure that someone returned every half-hour to check on them.

When Kate McCann took her turn and returned to her apartment at 10pm, she raced back to the restaurant screaming “Madeleine’s gone! Someone’s taken her!” The police were quickly called and 60 staff and fellow guests searched the complex, calling out the girl’s name in vain until daybreak the following morning.

Madeleine McCann: Timeline of the missing child’s disappearance

In pictures: Portugal reservoir where three-day search took place

Friday 26 May 2023 19:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

 (PA)
(PA)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Watch: Footage shows holes in the ground in Portugal as search ends

Friday 26 May 2023 18:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

ICYMI: German prosecutor says clues to McCann child disappearance possible at Portuguese dam site

Friday 26 May 2023 18:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

In case you missed it...

Police searching for clues regarding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the British child who went missing in 2007 in Portugal, were concentrating operations Wednesday in several areas around a dam, including one where media reports say a lead suspect in the case often stayed.

The latest search for clues regarding the disappearance started Tuesday following a request by German authorities. Some 30 Portuguese, German and British police are taking part in the operation at the Arade dam, which is located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the resort of Praia da Luz, where the 3-year-old girl was last seen 16 years ago.

Madeleine McCann search area mapped as police focus on reservoir in Portugal

How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

Friday 26 May 2023 17:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Sixteen years after Madeleine McCann vanished from the Algarve holiday apartment where she was sleeping next to her infant twin siblings, police have launched a major new search for evidence.

After laying dormant for several years since David Cameron kickstarted an ultimately fruitless Metropolitan Police inquiry in 2011, the case of the missing three-year-old was revived once more in 2020 when German prosecutors revealed a new suspect.

But three years on, 43-year-old convicted paedophile Christian Brueckner – who denies any connection to the missing youngster – is yet to be charged, as he languishes in a German prison for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman two years prior to Madeleine’s disappearance at the same resort.

How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

Why has the Madeleine McCann case resurfaced?

Friday 26 May 2023 17:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Despite the best efforts of investigators, the McCann case had lain dormant for several years before it suddenly exploded back into life in June 2020.

German media revealed that Christian Brueckner, a prisoner, now aged 45, with a track record of child abuse and drug trafficking, had been identified as a new suspect by the public prosecutor of the German city of Braunschweig.

He was reportedly living in a Volkswagen camper van in the Algarve at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

German investigators have classified their probe into his movements as a murder inquiry, saying they are working on the assumption that Madeleine is dead. They reported in July 2021 that they had found an abandoned cellar beneath his former allotment near Hanover where she could, theoretically, have been held captive.

A search dingy navigates in the Arade dam near Silves, Portugal (AP)
A search dingy navigates in the Arade dam near Silves, Portugal (AP)

Madeleine McCann reservoir search: What do we know about Portugal’s Barragem do Arade?

Friday 26 May 2023 16:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Police in Portugal investigating the disappearance of British citizen Madeleine McCann 16 years ago have begun searching a reservoir in the Algarve known to have been frequented by the latest suspect in the case.

Ms McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, was just three years old when she went missing from an apartment complex at the Ocean Club holiday resort of Praia da Luz in the municipality of Lagos on 3 May 2007.

Her case remains unsolved and is still the subject of intense public and press interest.

What do we know about the reservoir being searched by Madeleine McCann investigators?

Madeleine McCann search: Police leave holes two feet deep as reservoir hunt ends

Friday 26 May 2023 16:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Police hunting a remote reservoir in Portugal for evidence linked to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have left holes around two feet deep.

The three-day search was concluded on Thursday after officers were instructed to stand down at the Barragem do Arade reservoir in the Algarve.

The remote dam is located around 31 miles from the Praia de Luz resort- the hotel where Madeleine vanished while her parents were at dinner in a tapas bar with friends around 100 yards away from their holiday apartment.

Police leave holes two feet deep as Madeleine McCann reservoir search ends

Madeleine McCann case: Timeline of the missing child’s disappearance

Friday 26 May 2023 15:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Madeleine McCann, a three-year-old girl from Rothley, Leicestershire, went missing from the Portuguese holiday resort of Praia da Luz on the Algarve on 3 May 2007, a case still unsolved and still the subject of intense interest among the public and press.

Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, posted a statement on the Find Madeleine website on 3 May 2023 marking the latest anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance, reiterating their hopes of being reunited with her one day and posting a poem, “The Contradiction” by Clare Pollard, to express their feelings.

“Today marks the 16th anniversary of Madeleine’s abduction. Still missing... still very much missed,” they wrote.

“The police investigation continues, and we await a breakthrough. Thank you to everyone for your support- it really helps.”

Madeleine McCann: Timeline of the missing child’s disappearance

Who is Christian Brueckner? Madeleine McCann suspect and the accusations against him

Friday 26 May 2023 14:49 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Madeleine McCann’s disappearance has puzzled detectives for more than 15 years – but in 2020 a new potential suspect emerged.

German prisoner Christian Brueckner was first named in connection with the unsolved mystery that summer, and officially named as a suspect last year.

His yellow and white VW T3 Westfalia campervan was reportedly identified as having been near to the Praia da Luz resort in Portugal where the young girl went missing on May 3, 2007.

Brueckner is a prolific burglar and has been previously convicted for sex crimes against young girls.

He was born in Germany in 1976 and moved to Portugal in his late teens.

It is believed he lived there between 1995 and 2007 working in the food industry.

Brueckner is described as being about 6ft tall, slim and white with short blond hair.

 (Reuters)
(Reuters)

ICYMI: How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

Friday 26 May 2023 14:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Sixteen years after Madeleine McCann vanished from the Algarve holiday apartment where she was sleeping next to her infant twin siblings, police have launched a major new search for evidence.

After laying dormant for several years since David Cameron kickstarted an ultimately fruitless Metropolitan Police inquiry in 2011, the case of the missing three-year-old was revived once more in 2020 when German prosecutors revealed a new suspect.

But three years on, 43-year-old convicted paedophile Christian Brueckner – who denies any connection to the missing youngster – is yet to be charged, as he languishes in a German prison for the rape of a 72-year-old American woman two years prior to Madeleine’s disappearance at the same resort.

How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

Madeleine McCann reservoir search: What do we know about Portugal’s Barragem do Arade?

Friday 26 May 2023 13:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Police have said materials unearthed during a three-day hunt for evidence over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann at a remote reservoir in Portugal are being sent off for analysis.

Authorities have been scouring Barragem do Arade reservoir in the Algarve this week, using sniffer dogs and cutting down trees as part of the search inland from the coastal resort where the then-three-year-old went missing in 2007.

Madeleine McCann police give update as they end search of Portugal reservoir

Police flatten area of woodland and dig holes in Madeleine McCann searches

Friday 26 May 2023 13:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Police have flattened a concentrated area of woodland and dug a number of holes near a remote reservoir in Portugal as part of their three-day hunt for evidence in the Madeleine McCann case.

Huge piles of soil and broken rock were left next to the 160 sq ft area close to the banks of the Barragem do Arade, where officers were seen with shovels for a number of hours on Wednesday afternoon.

Portuguese police confirmed the search concluded on Thursday, and said materials had been sent to Germany for testing.

The surrounding woodland showed pathways had been cut by heavy machinery, with large branches lining the routes towards the area of focus.

The small section of woodland was clearly marked out by officers over the course of their three-day search in Portugal.

The cordon around the site, which had been in place since Tuesday morning to allow officers to scour the area with rakes, pickaxes and sniffer dogs, has since been lifted.

Police were given the go-ahead to search the area after German prosecutors received “certain tips” about the case.

A few kilometres away from the search, blue tents had been erected for briefings to take place.

German prosecutor plays down hope of a breakthrough

Friday 26 May 2023 12:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A source close to the investigation told Reuters there was nothing tangible to report, while German prosecutor Christian Wolters played down hopes of a breakthrough, saying: “Of course, there is a certain expectation, but it is not high.”

He added that the investigators were looking for a body, but also for anything that could help the investigation, such as clothing.

Mr Wolters said he did not expect the results of the studies of the collected samples to be announced any time soon.

Madeleine McCann case: Timeline of the missing child’s disappearance

Friday 26 May 2023 12:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Kate and Gerry McCann’s eldest daughter vanished from Portuguese holiday resort 16 years ago but emergence of new suspect has brought fresh hope of answers and closure:

Madeleine McCann: Timeline of the missing child’s disappearance