MADELEINE MCCANN SEARCH LIVE: Get all the latest news and update
MADELEINE MCCANN SEARCH LIVE: Detectives lock down remote Algarve reservoir as first day of hunt for missing British girl begins in Portugal
Follow the MailOnline’s live blog as detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann begin their search of a remote Algarve reservoir, said to be chief suspect Christian Brueckner’s ‘little paradise’ in the Portuguese region.
It has been reported that Christian Brueckner spent time in the area between 2000 and 2017.
Investigators believe he killed Madeleine, then aged three, after abducting her from a holiday apartment.
Brueckner, who has denied involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance, was identified as a suspect by Portuguese officials in June 2020.
No one has ever been charged in connection with the disappearance of Maddie, who would now be almost 20, but last year convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner was named as the prime suspect in the high profile case.
German native Christian Brueckner is currently in prison for the unrelated rape of a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz – the same resort the little girl went missing from.
Brueckner’s lawyer Friedrich Fulscher has declined to comment on the reservoir search, but a source close to him told MailOnline on Monday:’They can search all they want. I will be amazed if they find anything.’
Here, MailOnline answers: Who is Christian Brueckner?
The first reports that Christian Brueckner was being investigated in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann came four years ago, in 2019.
The German paedophile is known to have spent time in the Algarve when the young girl went missing on May 3, 2007, with the suspect’s yellow and white campervan reportedly spotted near the area where the young girl went missing.
– May 3: Local media reports say Portuguese detectives are investigating a foreign paedophile as a suspect in the abduction of Madeleine.
– 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’.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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: Portuguese news website SIC reports that an area near the Barragem do Arade reservoir, about 30 miles from Praia da Luz, is being sealed off as German police prepare to start searching on May 23.
Police divers were seen entering the water early on Tuesday morning at the Barragem do Arade reservoir, Press Association reports, suggesting the search operation has begun.
A police motor boat has also been sent into the water with two officers on it.
The reservoir is around 30 miles from Praia da Luz where three-year-old Madeleine went missing in 2007.
A Policia Judiciaria statement said it is co-ordinating searches in the Algarve at the request of German police and in the presence of British officers.
The prime suspect in her disappearance, convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, spent time in the area between 2000 and 2017.
Investigators believe the 45-year-old killed Madeleine after abducting her from a holiday apartment.
Much of the work done by officers searching the reservoir today will be done by hand, according to a well-placed police source.
‘Portuguese police are going to carry out a thorough and very careful search of the area today,’ they said.
‘Policia Judiciaria officers are going to be divided into four teams who will focus on a land search. It will be very meticulous and exhaustive.
‘Forget the idea of big trucks and large machinery. A lot of the work that’s going to be done here today will be done by hand with backup technology.’
The insider said there was no plan to bring in sniffer dogs today and did not comment on local reports boats with sonar equipment would comb certain stretches of the water.
High-tech equipment used to detect human remains buried under the earth, as well as underwater if required, is expected to be used.
No heavy machinery was taken to the area yesterday and council officials were spotted carrying a ‘lorryload’ of wheelbarrows to the zone by the hidden leisure area clearing.
This suggests police will rake and dig it by hand using the likes of pickaxes rather than excavate earth with diggers in an attempt to preserve any evidence they find.
Detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have today locked down a remote Algarve reservoir as they prepare to search for signs of the missing British girl.
The first major search for Madeleine in nine years comes after German police discovered photos of prime suspect Christian Brueckner at his self-described ‘little paradise’ in the Portuguese region.
Roads leading into the Arade Dam, a 40-minute drive from Praia da Luz where the youngster vanished 16 years ago, were sealed off yesterday as part of a ‘preparation’ day ahead of the search operation, which will see detectives comb scrubland near the water.
Much of the work will be done by hand, officials said.
And overnight a no-fly zone covering the whole of the man-made dam was put in place, leaving the airspace above the water and land near the water’s edge – where today’s search will focus on – open to police drones only.
The ring of steel means journalists and curious onlookers will be kept more than a mile back from two white tents put up yesterday in a secluded hilltop area on a peninsula jutting into the reservoir that Portuguese police are planning to comb until nightfall following a scheduled 9am local time start.
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