Roads sealed off; no-fly zone enforced; public cannot get within mile of area
A ring of steel has been put around Silves’ Arade dam today as PJ police, accompanied by colleagues from the UK and Germany, take advantage of the low water levels to search, once again, for the remains of missing Madeleine McCann.
So far there has been nothing in the press to suggest any kind of ‘new lead’, beyond the observation by SIC Notícias that searches this time will be 80% land based, and only 20% water-based.
German police – who told the world in 2020 they are convinced Madeleine is dead and Christian Brückner ‘did the deed’ – are working on the basis that Brückner often travelled to the dam, to a particular hidden spot which he dubbed “a little paradise”.
The dam’s waters have been searched by divers on at least three occasions in 2008 (shortly after Madeleine was reported missing), ostensibly on the basis of so-called ‘underworld tip-offs’. The understanding at the time was that Madeleine had been abducted and killed shortly afterwards, her body dumped in the dam which is roughly 50 kms from Praia da Luz where she went missing on May 3, 2007. But – as with every search to date – nothing conclusive was found.
Today, activity at the dam is intense: police divers entered the water early on; tents have been erected; local firefighters and civil protection operatives are on hand; detectives have been seen with spades and shovels; journalists and any curious onlookers are being kept well back while police have been seen “with sniffer dogs”.
According to reports, activity today will involve ‘excavations’, with the use of ground-penetrating radar and other technology, close to the dam’s edge. The operation is expected to go through till nightfall, and continue into Wednesday.
Says the Daily Mail: “Officials have been tight-lipped about the search. This morning in a statement, German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said:’Criminal proceedings are currently taking place in Portugal as part of the investigation into the Madeleine McCann case.
‘The measures are implemented through mutual legal assistance by the Portuguese law enforcement authorities with the support of officers from the Federal Criminal Police Office.’
He added: ‘For tactical reasons, no further information on the background is currently being released.’
The paper continues: “Portugal’s Policia Judiciária force, whose officers are doing most of the dig work today, has confirmed the searches were requested by their German counterparts the BKA.
“The request was made via an international letter of request sent to Portugal’s Attorney General’s office and passed on to prosecutors in Portimão.
“Portuguese officials have not yet said when it was received but it is believed to have been about two months ago”.
It was only last month that German prosecutors were informed they had no jurisdiction in the case they have been building against Christian Brückner. The Mail today claims “Braunschweig prosecutor Mr Wolters has insisted they are still in control of the Madeleine McCann investigation and Brückner, who denies any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance, remains in custody”.
SIC Notícias meantime says PJ police “have promised, at the end of proceedings, to give information on the results”.