Firefighters and police search the reservoir of the tourist complex where Madeleine McCann disappeared in the Algarve

On Tuesday, the Portuguese authorities, with the help of the German police, began searching for a reservoir near the area where the British girl, Madeleine McCann, disappeared in 2007, when she was three years old.

The first breakthrough in the unsolved case in Portugal for several years came after German prosecutors last year formally identified German Christian Bruckner as the official suspect in McCann’s disappearance.

A Reuters witness said members of the fire brigade deployed an inflatable boat while police officers combed the area around the Aradi reservoir, 52 kilometers (32 miles) from the seaside resort where the woman disappeared.

A source familiar with the investigation told Reuters that the operation in the municipality of Silves is taking place at the request of the German authorities. Another source said the Portuguese police had little hope that the search would lead to any progress in the case.

The Braunschweig public prosecutor’s office, which handled the Bruckner case, said on Tuesday that German Federal Criminal Police were assisting Portuguese authorities, but gave no further details about the investigation.

The Portuguese judicial police responsible for the operation declined to comment.

Bruckner, convicted of child abuse and drug trafficking, is behind bars in Germany for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in the same area of ​​the Algarve where McCann disappeared.

German police said in June 2020 that Madeleine was presumed dead And that Bruckner is most likely responsible.

Bruckner has denied any involvement and has not been charged with any related offences.

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