Portuguese police to renew search for Madeleine McCann, UK girl missing since 2007

Police in Portugal said they will renew a search for British toddler Madeleine McCann, who went missing in the country’s Algarve region 16 years ago.

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In a statement, Portugal’s Judicial Police confirmed news media reports about the search, The New York Times reported.

A search of the Arade dam will begin on Tuesday, approximately 31 miles from where the 3-year-old girl, from Rothley, Leicestershire, went missing in Praia da Luz in 2007, according to the BBC.

Police from the United Kingdom, Portugal and Germany are still trying to determine what happened when McCann disappeared from her bed on May 3, 2007, The Associated Press reported. The child was in the same room as her 2-year-old twin siblings while her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, were eating dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant, according to the Times.

Gerry McCann had returned to check on the children in the apartment at about 9 p.m. and found nothing wrong, the newspaper reported. But when Kate McCann returned to check on the children an hour later, Madeleine was missing, the Times reported.

Christian Brueckner, 45, of Germany, was identified as a formal suspect by Portuguese prosecutors in 2022, the BBC reported. German police identified Brueckner as a suspect in mid-2020, according to the AP. He has denied any involvement and has not been charged.

An area of the reservoir’s peninsula near the Arade dam, a mile in length, was sealed off by police shortly after noon on Monday, Portuguese television network SIC reported.

The search is expected to last two days, the BBC reported.

In 2008, Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia paid for specialist divers to check the waterway, according to the news organization. Correia claimed he was tipped off by criminal contacts that Madeleine McCann’s body was in the reservoir.

In 2014, British police were given permission to search scrubland near the area where the girl went missing, the BBC reported.

In October 2022, prosecutors in Braunschweig, Germany, charged Brueckner in several separate cases, the AP reported. The cases involved sexual offenses allegedly committed in Portugal between 2000 and 2017, according to the news organization.

Brueckner is currently in prison in Germany for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in 2005, the BBC reported. The alleged offense occurred in the same area where Madeleine McCann went missing.

Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolter said his office would release a statement about the case on Tuesday morning.

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