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

Discovered items sent to German lab after police leave Algarve reservoir

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Friday 26 May 2023 10:53 BST
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Madeleine McCann: Footage shows holes in the ground in Portugal as search ends

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.

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)

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.

A “relevant clue” was found during the three-day hunt which led to police officers concentrating on a specific paper, according to the Correio de Manhã newspaper.

The fresh search operation began on Tuesday at the request of German investigators who believe their prime suspect, convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 45, kidnapped and murdered the youngster.

Madeleine McCann has been missing since 2007 (PA Media)
Members of the media photograph holes at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal (PA)

German authorities have not revealed what triggered the latest search operation, but the prosecutor for the city of Braunschweig, Christian Wolters, said they were acting on the basis of “certain tips”.

He told German public broadcaster NDR the new information had not come from the suspect and they did not have a confession or “any indication from the suspect of where it would make sense to search”.

Police searched the Algarve reservoir for three days in May (AP)

Brueckner is in prison in Germany for the rape of a woman in Praia da Luz in 2005, and is suspected of further rapes and child sexual abuse committed in the area between 2000 and 2017.

He has denied any involvement and is currently behind bars in Germany for raping a 72-year-old woman in the same part of Portugal.

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