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Police conclude search in Portuguese reservoir

Portuguese police have confirmed their latest search for Madeleine McCann in a reservoir has concluded after three days.

Police said in a statement the collected material would be sent to Germany to be analysed, though there was no indication of what had been found or whether it was conclusive.

Police were searching the Barragem do Arade reservoir in the Algarve, southern Portugal, on the request of German investigators.

Their prime suspect is convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner. Portuguese newspaper Correia da Manha reported recently that German police have videos and pictures of Brueckner at the dam.

SILVES, PORTUGAL - MAY 25: View of dismantled base camp at the end of the three-day search for remains of Madeleine McCann at Barragem do Arade Reservoir on May 25, 2023 in Silves, Portugal. British girl, Madeleine McCann, aged 3, went missing from her bed in a holiday apartment in Praia Da Luz on the Portuguese Algarve in May 2007. German Prosecutors believe that a German national convicted of child sex offences was responsible for her abduction and possible death. The suspect is known to have visited the Portuguese reservoir several times in 2007. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos/Getty Images)
The dismantled base camp at the end of the three-day search for Madeleine McCann at the Barragem do Arade Reservoir (Photo: Horacio Villalobos/Getty Images)

German police believe the 45-year-old killed Madeleine, who was three when she went missing, after abducting her from her holiday apartment.

Brueckner was made an official suspect in the case in April 2022. Last year, he denied allegations that he was involved in Madeleine’s disappearance.

This is the first major operation in the investigation since 2014 when British police were granted permission to dig in Praia da Luz.

A large section of the reservoir was cordoned off on Tuesday as police divers entered the water at the reservoir that morning where they were reportedly using technology to detect human remains buried underwater. The cordon has since been lifted as of Thursday night.

Sniffer dogs were also deployed while other officers were seen with rakes and metal rods preparing to search the ground.

Undated handout file photo of Madeleine McCann. Searches are expected to begin on Tuesday as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine, police in Portugal have confirmed. 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. An area near the Barragem do Arade reservoir, around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007, was being sealed off ahead of searches according to Portuguese news website SIC. Issue date: Tuesday May 23, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLICE Portugal. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007 (Photo: PA)

Before the end of the search, prosecutor Christian Wolters told Reuters: “Of course there is a certain expectation, but it is not high.”

He added that the investigators were looking for the body, but also for anything that could help the investigation, such as clothing: “A lot is conceivable.”

He did not expect the results of the studies of the collected samples to be announced any time soon.

With additional reporting from agencies.

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