Portuguese police on Tuesday will search a reservoir inland from where British three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007, authorities said Monday, in the first formal development in the case in Portugal for years.
A spokesman for the fire service said police were preparing to launch searches on Tuesday at a dam in the southern Algarve region, about 50km inland from a seaside town where Madeleine went missing from a rented apartment while on a family holiday .
A source familiar with the investigation told Reuters that the operation in the Silves township was carried out at the request of German authorities, who last year formally identified German man Christian Brueckner as an official suspect in McCann’s disappearance.
German officials had no direct comment. The Portuguese investigative police in charge of the operation declined to comment.
A separate source familiar with the investigation was not optimistic about the chances of a breakthrough in the long-running case, adding: “It will come to nothing”.
Brueckner, a convicted child molester and drug dealer, is behind bars in Germany for raping a 72-year-old woman in the same part of the Algarve where Madeleine went missing.
German police said in June 2020 that Madeleine was presumed dead and that Brueckner was likely responsible. Brueckner has denied any involvement and has not been charged with any crime related.
A German court last month dismissed additional charges against him in connection with other Portuguese cases of rape and child sexual assault, meaning German prosecutors investigating “Maddie’s” disappearance were no longer authorized to investigate.
Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann were questioned by Portuguese police in 2007 as formal suspects, but the police dropped the investigation the following year due to lack of evidence and cleared them of any involvement.
The parents have since campaigned to bring attention to their daughter’s disappearance, and British public figures, from business magnates to authors and football stars, have requested information.
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