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Law enforcement agencies from 3 countries will search dam frequented by pedophile in renewed Madeleine McCann investigation

The McCann family

The McCann family appears in a 2012 photo inset against a 2020 photo of the coastline in Praia da Luz, in Portugal’s Algarve coast. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File; AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Authorities from three countries are preparing to begin a search for the body of a presumed-dead little girl Madeleine McCann who disappeared 16 years ago, multiple media outlets reported on Monday, citing German police.

McCann was 3 years old when she went missing in May 2007, while her parents were vacationing in Algarve, Portugal. She was apparently left in the family’s rented apartment with her brother while their mother and father went out drinking at a tapas restaurant on the night in question.

On Monday, police and Portuguese Civil Protection agents set up tents and other structures as they began sealing off part of a peninsula extending into the Barragem do Arade reservoir, according to The Independent. That site is located near the historical town of Silves, according to The Telegraph. The exact location where the searches for McCann’s body will occur is some 31 miles away from the oceanside apartment where the family was staying in the Praia da Luz resort area, according to the Reuters wire service.

The operation is reportedly being led by German investigators with assistance from the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria. Specifically, the request for the search was reportedly made by German authorities and will be carried out by police on Tuesday. Additionally, officers with Scotland Yard, from the United Kingdom, will be there to watch the progress of the search but reportedly have a hands-off role.

The McCann family is from Rothley, Leicestershire, England.

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German police have long believed the girl is dead and have said they have “concrete evidence” of her murder that has, to this day, yet to be made public; their prime suspect in McCann’s presumed murder is convicted pedophile Cristian Brueckner, 45, who is currently serving a prison sentence in Bremen, Germany, for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Praia da Luz.

The area set to be searched is believed to have long been one of Brueckner’s favorite haunts in Portugal – long before he was convicted on child sex abuse charges in Germany in 2017. The suspect has been in prison since being arrested in Italy in 2018 – and he has frequently been in trouble with the law since first being convicted of child sex crimes in 1994. Brueckner was publicly connected to the McCann case in 2020. Last year, German police formally identified him as a suspect; Portuguese authorities later followed suit.

According to the Telegraph, citing Portuguese broadcaster SIC, German police asked to conduct the search several weeks ago after identifying the dam as an “area of interest” in the case.

“Investigators know suspect Cristian Brueckner used to come to this dam regularly,” a translated copy of that request reportedly reads. “He would call it his little paradise and would often spend the night here. He was seen here often. The German authorities considered this reservoir to be an area of interest and ended up sending an International letter of request or letter rogatory.”

The Associated Press reported that Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolter promised to release a statement on the case on Tuesday morning.

According to Reuters, however, spirits are not high as to the eventual outcome of the search.

“It will come to nothing,” a source said to be familiar with the investigation told the wire service.

According to The Guardian, the reservoir was first searched in 2008 and a bag of bones was recovered that were determined to be of “non-human origin.”

Madeleine McCann would have turned 20 this year.

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