Portuguese police continue the search for Madeleine McCann, the British child who has been missing since 2007

ARADE DAM, Portugal — On Tuesday, the police renewed the search for Madeleine McCann, the British child who disappeared in Portugal in 2007. The police dug and scraped the surface of the earth next to the dam located not far from the place of disappearance.

About 20 officers lined up with rakes and hoe-like tools and began poking and raking the soil near the Arad dam, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Praia da Luz in southern Portugal, where the 3-year-old girl was last seen 16 years ago alive.

Earlier, a couple of firefighters could be seen in a dinghy on the reservoir.

There was no immediate word on the progress of the search.

The operation, led by Portuguese police with the help of German and British colleagues, was announced on Monday. According to Portuguese officials, this followed a request from German authorities.

Portuguese police set up two blue tents and cordoned off the area to media and the public on Monday. More than a dozen cars and police cars arrived early Tuesday.

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Between 20 and 30 uniformed officers were in the area. According to witnesses, the police began the search shortly before 8:00 a.m.

According to Portuguese media, this is the fourth search for McCann, after the first in 2007 in the Algarve region, and in 2013 and 2014. In 2020, another research was held in Germany.

It is believed to be the first search in the dam area.

The German prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig said in a written statement on Tuesday that “prosecution measures are currently underway in Portugal as part of the investigation into the Madeleine McCann case.”

They added that “the measures are carried out by the Portuguese Public Prosecutor’s Office as mutual legal assistance, with the support of officers from the Federal Criminal Police”.

“For investigative tactical reasons, more detailed information about the background is not being released at this time,” the statement said.

In mid-2020, German officials said the suspect in the case was a 45-year-old German national identified by the media as Christian Brueckner, who had been in the Algarve state in 2007. Brueckner denied any involvement.

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Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Germany for a 2005 rape in Portugal.

He is under investigation on suspicion of murder in the McCann case, but has not been charged. He spent many years in Portugal, including Praia da Luz, around Madeleine’s disappearance.

The case attracted worldwide interest for several years, with reports of sightings of the girl as far away as Australia, as well as a number of books and television documentaries about the case.

The reward for finding Madeleine, now 20, has reached several million dollars.

British, Portuguese and German police are still piecing together what happened the night the toddler disappeared from her bed at the resort in southern Portugal on May 3, 2007. He had his twin brother and sister, who were 2 years old, in the same room. while his parents were having dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.

Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolters, referring to the latest searches, said on Tuesday that “we are investigating in Portugal based on certain tips”, but declined to give further details.

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Wolters said the search “will take some time.” Portuguese officials said the search would take place in the coming days.


Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin and Ciarán Giles and Jennifer O’Mahony in Madrid contributed to this report.

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/police-portugal-resume-search-madeleine-mccann-british-child-99532045