German police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann said a search of a reservoir in the Algarve has found “a number of items” that may be linked to the missing girl.
Last week investigators searched the remote Barragem do Arade reservoir in the Algarve, which prime suspect Christian Brückner described as a “little piece of paradise” and is 30 miles from where Madeleine was arrested in 2007.
Detectives cleared a large area of forest by the reservoir and dug eight deep holes to collect soil samples, which were sent to Germany for forensic and DNA testing.
The German prosecutor in charge of the case, Hans Christian Wolters, confirmed today that “a number of items” were confiscated during the search.
Wolters said: “A number of items were confiscated as part of the investigation.” These will be evaluated in the coming days and weeks.
“It is not yet possible to say whether individual points actually have a connection with the Madeleine McCann case.” “The investigations conducted here in Braunschweig against the 46-year-old suspect are expected to continue for a long time.”
Last week investigators searched the remote Barragem do Arade reservoir in the Algarve (pictured).
During the search operation as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine on May 23, the authorities gathered at a makeshift base camp in the area of the Arade dam
Madeleine (left) was three years old in May 2007 when she disappeared from her bedroom in the apartment where her family was staying in the Praia da Luz resort on the Algarve coast. German prosecutors assume that Christian Brückner (right) is behind her disappearance
Police said they found a “relevant lead” in their search for the beautiful site after an informant was able to match photos showing Brueckner near the reservoir.
Several items have been removed from the site that may or may not be relevant to the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance. This includes a bra strap, clothing, and plastic items.
An area of about 160 square meters was leveled and cleared of grass and shrubs, with several holes dug to a depth of about two feet in the soil to collect soil samples, which were sent to Germany for forensic and DNA testing. However, there are fears that it could be months before the results of the full analysis are available.
The investigation last week was the first major search for the toddler in nine years and appears to have come after German police discovered photos of Brückner in his self-described “little paradise” in the Portuguese region.
And on Tuesday it was revealed there could be other areas police could search around Praia da Luz, where Madeleine had stayed with her family, after German investigators searched more than 8,000 photos of Brueckner.
A source told that Sun: “German officials have looked through more than 8,000 photos of Christian B. That forensic work led them to Barragem – but there are other locations that have come up in the images as well.”
“Investigators want to find out where they are and why Christian B photographed these places.”
Brueckner, 45, camped at the reservoir on weekends and is said to have set up a sinister base there to “cleanse himself,” it was revealed last week.
A former friend of Brueckner, who has lived in the Algarve for almost 30 years and is helping police with their investigations, claims the criminal visited the reservoir “often” but “always kept it a secret”.
The German mother-of-three, whose identity has not been released, recalled how Brückner drove his motorhome to the shore of the lake because he “liked to be near the water”.
She claimed he always camped in the same place and “usually nobody else was around.”
“It was exactly his special place that he said he liked to come to to cleanse himself,” she said of his campsite, telling The Sun, “I don’t know what he was doing there as he was very was secret.”
Details of Brueckner’s secret hideout came to light when a British couple told the Mail on Sunday that they had discovered a bizarre “shrine” to Madeleine in the reservoir just seven months after her disappearance.
Last week investigators cleared a large area of forest on the Algarve reservoir and dug deep holes to collect samples that were being sent to Germany for forensic and DNA testing
Christian Brueckner, 45, was camping in the Barragem do Arade reservoir where police were looking for leads in the Madeline McCann missing case last week. The convicted rapist and pedophile is said to have built a circle out of stones found in the water (pictured)
For more than a decade, Madeleine’s troubled parents Gerry and Kate (pictured together in 2017) have waited in vain for the news – any clue – that their little girl is somehow still alive after all this time
The retired couple, who asked only to be named Ralf and Ann, were so disturbed by what they saw that they took photos and sent them to Portuguese investigators, thinking they were significant, but amazingly never got any of it.
The makeshift memorial consisted of boulders in the shape of an arrow pointing to a picnic spot excavated by police last week. It was weighted down with a large stone and on it were a bouquet of flowers and a photograph of the kidnapped Madeleine.
Three years ago – when 45-year-old prime suspect Brückner was identified by German police – the couple contacted investigators after seeing a plea to anyone who was on holiday in the Algarve when Madeleine went missing in May 2007, to get in touch with them.
This time, German BKA (criminal police) officers responded within hours of Ralf and Ann emailing them and questioned them over the phone for several hours before asking them for a formal statement.
The question arises whether it was their information that prompted the German authorities to request a search of the remote picnic area campsite on the edge of the reservoir near Silves, which Brückner described as his “little paradise”.
Meanwhile, German criminal profiler Axel Petermann said the police were right to dig in a place Brückner loves so much.
He told The Mirror: “The criminals I’ve come across over the years tend to hide their victims in places where they feel safe and can assess the danger.”
“These are places that are secluded and secret and where you can stop and assess different risks.”
“They can also be places where they feel comfortable and where there is a certain private memory of a certain act.”
“So I think search activity may have gone in that direction.”
He added: “My recommendation in dealing with suspects in missing persons is always to find the places where these suspects have been, where they had secrets, where they could assess risks, so I think investigators from this View The current search was very important.
“You always have to delve into the suspect’s life to find out more about their tastes, their inclinations and their favorite places to spend time.”
“And I don’t think there’s really a better way than to look in secret, confidential places.”
Last year, German prosecutors named convicted child molester and drug dealer Brückner as the prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.
She was three years old when she disappeared from her bedroom in the apartment where her family stayed in the resort of Praia da Luz on the Algarve coast in May 2007. The reservoir is approximately 50 kilometers inland from the resort.
Bruecker is currently behind bars in Germany for raping a 72-year-old woman in the same area of the Algarve region where McCann disappeared.
Pictured: Christian Brückner was filmed at the wheel of a battered VW camper van weeks before Madeleine was kidnapped
The German suspect had lived in a warehouse outside of Praia da Luz for several years but moved into a camper van shortly before Madeleine’s disappearance
Sources close to Brueckner’s legal team said each new search was “a waste of time.”
The source told the Sun: “He didn’t kill Madeleine and all of that diverts attention from the task of finding out who really did it.”
Brückner was known to break into hotel rooms and apartments in the Algarve to supplement his income from drug dealing and suddenly left southern Portugal in 2007 – the year Madeleine disappeared – after living there for more than a decade had.
He is said to have admitted to kidnapping Madeleine from a friend in a bar – and German investigators are said to assume he killed the three-year-old.
But more than three years after Brueckner was linked to Madeleine’s disappearance, he still hasn’t been charged with her kidnapping because prosecutors don’t have enough evidence.