Madeleine McCann: Key suspect visited reservoir ‘days after disappearance’

Investigators believe the 45-year-old killed Madeleine, then aged three, after abducting her from a holiday apartment.

Madeleine McCann was three years old when she went missing in 2007 (Family handout/PA)

German police search the Arade reservoir near the area where British girl Madeleine McCann went missing in May 2007. Photo: REUTERS/Luis Ferreira.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain and Maroosha MuzaffarUK Independent

The prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann search, Christian Brueckner, is said to have visited the Portugal reservoir “some days” after her disappearance, a source close to the investigation has revealed.

It comes as divers searching for Madeleine prepare to enter the reservoir in the Algarve for the third day.

German detectives were informed by a “very credible source” who knew the suspect, The Telegraph reported.

The Barragem do Arade is around 31 miles from the Praia da Luz resort where Madeleine disappeared. Investigators believe the 45-year-old killed Madeleine, then aged three, after abducting her from a holiday apartment.

On Tuesday, officers acting on “credible information” were said to be seeking any fragments of clothing and old rags that could be related to her disappearance, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Fresh searches in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann enter a second day

The development comes just 10 days after Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, issued a tribute on their Leicestershire-born daughter’s 20th birthday, telling her: “We love you and we’re waiting for you. We’re never going to give up.”

Yesterday Police deployed heavy equipment and sniffer dogs, the second day of a search at a remote reservoir in Portugal for evidence linking a German suspect to the disappearance of the British toddler.

Emergency services brought in a remote-controlled tractor-mounted tree cutter to clear what appeared to be a new search area, a few hundred metres away from a temporary camp set up on Tuesday on the shores of the Arade reservoir by Portuguese police, assisted by German and British counterparts.

McCann was three years old in May 2007 when she vanished from her bedroom in the apartment her family were staying at in the Praia da Luz resort on the Algarve coast. The reservoir is about 50 km inland.


"I hope they will find something, so the parents can have peace," said Gert, 49-year-old Dane who lives in the same building from which McCann disappeared.

Other Praia da Luz residents and holidaymakers shared the hope Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, will have closure at last.

Citing a source close to the investigation, Portugal's Expresso newspaper said the German Federal Criminal Police Office acted on a tip-off from an informer, "whom German police consider very credible" and who provided them with details that the investigators "are taking very seriously".

Prosecutor Christian Wolters in Braunschweig, Germany, told broadcaster NDR the information did not come from the suspect and there was "no confession or anything similar", and police were not necessarily looking for McCann's remains at the Arade.

"We never said that the girl disappeared where we are now searching," he said.

CNN Portugal said the operation would continue at least for one more day on Thursday.

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