Madeleine McCann police give update on search after 'number of items seized'

Madeleine McCann

Police have given an update in their investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

PA
Olivia  Capocci

By Olivia Capocci


Published: 01/06/2023

- 09:29

Updated: 01/06/2023

- 11:07

Police carried out a search of the Arade dam in Portugal last week

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have given an update on their search of a reservoir in Portugal, saying "a number of items were seized".

As part of their three-day hunt for evidence in the case of the missing Briton, which concluded on May 25, the Police flattened a concentrated area of woodland and dug a number of holes near a remote reservoir in Portugal.


Following the short search in a specific area of the Arade reservoir, the authorities sent materials for testing in Germany.

The cordon around the site has since been lifted, and evidence of attempts to cut the vast undergrowth was clear, with large branches and bushes lining freshly made pathways.

The search operation carried out last week in the area of the Arade reservoir in Portugal ended on Thursday after three days as planned

The search operation carried out last week in the area of the Arade reservoir in Portugal ended on Thursday after three days as planned

PA

In a statement released today, the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor's Office said: "The search operation carried out last week in the area of the Arade reservoir in Portugal ended on Thursday after three days as planned.

"A previously precisely defined area along the reservoir was completely searched for possible evidence.

"A number of items were seized as part of the operation. These will be evaluated in the coming days and weeks.

"It is not yet possible to say whether some of the items are actually related to the Madeleine McCann case."

Police had said they found a "relevant clue" during their search of the beauty spot after an informant was able to match photographs showing the lead suspect in the McCann case close to the reservoir.

Several items were removed from the site, which may or may not be of relevance to the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance. They include a bra strap, pieces of clothing and plastic items.

An area of around 160 square feet had been flattened and cleared of grass and shrubs with several holes dug into the ground to a depth of around two feet to collect samples of soil, which have been sent for forensic and DNA testing in Germany.

But there are concerns that the results of the full analysis could take months to be completed.

Several holes were dug into the ground to collect samples of soil, which have been sent for forensic and DNA testing in GermanySeveral holes were dug into the ground to collect samples of soil, which have been sent for forensic and DNA testing in Germany

PA

Police were given the go-ahead to search the area after German prosecutors received “certain tips” about the case.

Prosecutor for the city of Braunschweig, Christian Wolters, said the individual items seized as part of searches would be evaluated over the coming days and weeks.

In a short statement, Wolters said: "The investigation into 46-year-old suspect Christian B is expected to continue for a long time".

He also thanked police from the UK, Portugal and staff at Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office for "excellent and very constructive" cooperation.

Madeleine was three when she vanished while on holiday with her parents in Praia da Luz

Madeleine was three when she vanished while on holiday with her parents in Praia da Luz

PA

The operation was carried out at the request of German investigators who believe their prime suspect, convicted sex offender Christian B, kidnapped and murdered the youngster.

He is in prison in Germany for the rape of a woman in Praia da Luz in 2005, and is suspected of further rapes and child sexual abuse committed in the area between 2000 and 2017.

He has reportedly denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

Madeleine was three when she vanished while on holiday with her parents in Praia da Luz, after they left her and her younger twin siblings asleep in their apartment while they went out to dinner with friends.

Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia previously claimed that criminal contacts had told him that Madeleine’s body was in the reservoir, and in 2008 he raised funds for unsuccessful private searches of the water.

The new searches came as the Home Office granted an extra £110,000 in funding this financial year for the Metropolitan Police to assist with finding Madeleine, down from just over £300,000 last year.

The total funding given to Operation Grange has been just under £13.1million since 2011.

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