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Portuguese police resume search for Madeleine McCann

Portuguese police, aided by German and British colleagues, resumed their search on Tuesday for Madeleine McCann, the British child who disappeared 16 years ago in the southern Algarve region.

Between 20 and 30 officers, some in uniform, could be seen in the area near the Arade Dam, about 30 miles from Praia da Luz, where the 3-year-old was last seen alive in 2007.

Portuguese police had set up a basic blue tent and cordoned off the area from the media and the public. Eyewitnesses said police began searching shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday in an area a few miles from the tent. More than a dozen police cars and vans could be seen arriving in the area.

On Monday, Portuguese detectives issued a statement saying the search was resuming at the request of German authorities and with the help of British officials.

German prosecutors in Braunschweig said in a written statement on Tuesday that “criminal procedural measures are currently underway in Portugal in connection with the investigation into the Madeleine McCann case”.

Madeleine McCann before her disappearance from a Portuguese holiday resort on May 3, 2007. London Metropolitan Police / via AP File

They added that “the measures are implemented within the framework of mutual legal assistance by the Portuguese prosecution authorities with the support of officers from the Federal Criminal Police Office”.

“More detailed background information is not being released at this time for tactical investigative reasons,” the statement said.

In mid-2020, German officials said a 45-year-old German citizen, identified by media as Christian Brueckner, who was in the Algarve in 2007, was a suspect in the case. Brueckner denied any involvement.

Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Germany for a rape he committed in Portugal in 2005.

He is being investigated on suspicion of murder in the McCann case, but has not been charged. He spent many years in Portugal, notably in Praia da Luz, at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

The case generated worldwide interest for several years, with reports of sightings of her spreading as far as Australia, as well as a slew of books and TV documentaries about the case.

The rewards for finding Madeleine, who would now be 20, have reached several million dollars.

British, Portuguese and German police are still piecing together what happened the night the little girl disappeared from her bed in the southern Portuguese resort town on May 3, 2007. She was in the same room as her twin brother and his sister, who was 2 at the time, while his parents were having dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.

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