Images of police searches taken by Luís Forra/ Lusa

Maddie searches “did not find anything relevant”

“If anything relevant had been found, it would not be going for analysis to Germany”

Three days of intense searches of the Arade dam – a spot frequently visited by Christian Brückner, the one and only possible suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann – have now wound down, with all potential evidence collected on its way to Germany for analysis.

RTP national news adds that it “knows that nothing relevant was found”, while Correio da Manhã has cited a police source ‘close to investigations’ saying that had anything relevant been found, it would not have been released to German police for analysis in Germany.

What will be on its way to Germany for said analysis “will not be related with Maddie”, RTP agrees. It “may serve for other investigations concerning Brückner, and this is why it was delivered to German authorities (…) The lack of answers as to what happened in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007 continues”, says the channel.

The PJ, for its part, followed through on its pledge yesterday to give information on the results of the last three days. Uploaded onto its website was the following statement

“Investigation into the disappearance of an English child

“The Policia Judiciária informs that the steps requested by German authorities, through a request for international cooperation, were accomplished, which resulted in the collection of some material that will be subject to the competent expertise.

“The operation took place under the coordination of the Judicial Police, which involved investigators, criminalistics experts and security personnel.

“The German authorities (BKA) and the British authorities (MPS) also took part in the operation.

“The Criminal Investigation Police also had the extraordinary collaboration of the National Republican Guard Command in Faro, as well as of the Regional Command of Emergency and Civil Protection of the Algarve and of the Municipality of Silves, with regard to the logistics required to carry out the work.

“Safeguarding the interests of the investigation still underway in Portugal, the material collected will be delivered to the German authorities, according to the rules of international judicial cooperation”.

Coincidentally, yesterday was the International Day of Missing Children. Marking the occasion, the SOS Missing Child helpline revealed that just this year there have been 50 appeals concerning missing minors – the majority missing from institutions. There have been four cases involving ‘parental kidnap’, and two involving kidnap. Commentators frequently refer to the high priority given to the Madeleine case, over those that take place – admittedly under very different circumstances – on national territory.

Again, coincidentally, Correio da Manhã today recalls the disappearance in Arouca of 14-year-old Annebelly Santos on May 1 this year.

Annebelly was removed from her Brazilian family by authorities in Aveiro, and placed in an institution in Arouca, from which she ‘ran away’.

Her mother has lamented the fact that her daughter was removed from her family on the pretext that she was in danger. “And now? Isn’t she now in danger”, queries Raílda Santos, who claims “no one is doing anything, or giving answers” about the disappearance of her eldest child.

CM adds that it appears Annebelly made a false complaint about mistreatment at home in order to leave it.

Her family “are desperate, and her younger siblings in suffering with her absence”, the paper concludes.

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