Madeleine McCann was three years old when she went missing from Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007. To this day, there is no certainty what happened to her.

Madeleine McCann: new searches to begin in Arade dam, Silves

Portuguese police act on requests from German counterparts

Over 16 years since three-year-old Madeleine Beth McCann went missing from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, police are back conducting searches, this time at Silves’ Arade dam – on the request of German authorities convinced of the guilt of principal suspect Christian Brückner.

In the early days, intense searches took place at the dam, following a ‘tip off’ that Madeleine had been “raped, murdered and her body dumped within 48-hours of her disappearance” on May 3, 2007.

This could be the line German prosecutors are running with, bearing in mind they have been focused on Brückner’s alleged sexual deviance.

According to archive reports, the dam was searched for any trace of Madeleine’s body on at least three occasions in 2008.

The Evening Standard quoted lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia as having acted independently on information that Madeleine’s body had been “weighted down” and thrown “from a pumping tower into the murky water beneath“- where depths at the time reached 55 ft… (With the effects of years of low rainfall, depths now will be greatly reduced, and this may be a reason for the renewed police interest.)

Following Aragao Correia’s privately-funded searches, PJ police led by former national director Alipio Ribeiro also focused on the dam area.

Say reports today, the secluded spot “used to be frequented by Christian Brückner” who described it as a “little paradise”.

Says SIC Notícias: “German authorities want to know if there are any remains, or evidence that could bring new clues on the disappearance of the child”.

Christian Brückner – who has stressed to police that he had nothing to do with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann – remains in jail in Germany for the rape of an elderly American woman in Praia da Luz in 2005. 

As part of their investigations, German police last year charged Brückner with further sex crimes, including against children, but these appear to have led nowhere, confused also by jurisdiction issues.

British media reports say that Portuguese police will be running this week’s searches. They are “expected to start closing off roads soon leading to the man-made dam (…) ahead of the official start of the search tomorrow (Tuesday).

“Scotland Yard detectives are understood to have travelled to the area, but with only a ‘watching brief’.

The search is set to last for at least two days and beyond that if anything of relevance is found”, writes the Daily Mail, adding that “this time round expert divers are set to explore the murky depths of the dam but digs will also take place in woodland by the water”.

The first question is whether the dam really does present “murky depths” after such a long period of drought.

Updates to follow as and when.

It needs to be stressed that Christian Brückner’s lawyer, as well as a number of sources connected to this mystery over the years, have repeatedly suggested the German police theory is bogus. But due to the Statute of Limitations, Christian Brückner is the only suspect in this case who could possibly face prosecution.

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