German police, in coordination with Portuguese authorities, are set to launch a significant search operation in a remote reservoir in the Algarve region of Portugal. The reservoir, located near the town of Silves, was frequented by the prime suspect in the case, Cristian Brueckner, and is considered an “area of interest” in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The search is scheduled to begin tomorrow and is expected to last at least two days, with the possibility of an extension if any relevant evidence is found.
Scotland Yard detectives have traveled to the area with a “watching brief,” while German police are due to arrive later. Permission to search the reservoir was granted after German police submitted an official request to Portuguese authorities, emphasizing its significance in Brueckner’s life on the Algarve. The suspect reportedly referred to the reservoir as his “little paradise.”
The dam, known as Barragem do Arade reservoir, lies approximately 45 minutes from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine McCann vanished without a trace in 2007 at the age of three. This operation marks the first major search since June 2014 when British police were allowed to conduct digs in Praia da Luz using specialized sniffer dogs and ground-penetrating radar.
The exact reason for this week’s operation remains unclear. It is uncertain whether German police received a new tip-off or if the search has been planned over time to further their investigation into Christian Brueckner’s activities on the Algarve. Reports suggest that approximately 80% of the search efforts will focus on land, while the rest will be conducted underwater.
The current search area is approximately 30 miles away from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared. Police tents have been erected at the scene in preparation for the search. Today, logistical preparations are underway, with roads leading to the reservoir expected to be closed off. Furthermore, local council lorries have been observed, and tents are being set up by Portuguese Civil Protection workers in the vicinity.
Marcos Aragao Correia, a lawyer who organized a privately-funded operation related to Madeleine’s case, claims to have received information from underworld contacts suggesting that the reservoir was the location where the child’s body was disposed of shortly after her disappearance. Two bags containing small bones were found during a previous search in 2008, but they were determined to be non-human. Correia’s involvement in the current operation remains unclear.
Christian Brueckner, the primary suspect in the case, has previously denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance. He was officially declared a suspect in April 2022 and has been linked to multiple child murders across Europe since 1996. However, he has not faced any formal charges in connection with Madeleine’s case.
The McCann family marked their daughter’s 20th birthday last month with a video expressing their love and unwavering hope for her return. Madeleine’s disappearance on the evening of May 3, 2007, during a family holiday in Praia da Luz, prompted a high-profile investigation that has spanned over a decade.
As the search operation at the Algarve reservoir commences, authorities hope that it may yield crucial evidence in solving the mystery of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance and provide closure to her family, who have persevered in their pursuit of the truth for over 16 years.