Portuguese police announced on Thursday that they had ended the excavations carried out since Tuesday near a lake in southern Portugal, at the request of the German authorities, as part of the investigation into the disappearance of little Madeleine McCann in 2007.

The judicial police clarified in a press release that “the material collected will be handed over to the German authorities”, who have said since 2020 that they are convinced that the British girl is dead and suspect a German multi-recidivist sexual aggressor already imprisoned in his country for a rape in Portugal. .

The police did not give any details on the elements collected or on the purpose of the operation carried out with the participation of German and British investigators, near the banks of a water reservoir located in Silves, a municipality in the tourist region of the Algarve.

Shortly before celebrating her fourth birthday, Madeleine McCann disappeared on May 3, 2007 from the room of a hotel complex in Praia da Luz, a small seaside resort in the Algarve where she was vacationing with her family, while her parents were dining. with friends at a nearby restaurant.

The disappearance of the British girl has given rise to an exceptional international campaign led by Kate and Gerry McCann to try to find her, and remains one of the great criminal enigmas of recent years.

The region of the Arade dam, located about fifty kilometers from the place of disappearance of “Maddie”, had already been combed in 2008, including by divers who had found only animal remains.

According to local media, the German suspect went there regularly and described the place as his “little paradise”.

This man, who is serving a prison sentence in Germany for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal, was identified in 2020 by German investigators as Christian Brueckner, a repeat pedophile now aged 46. years old and having lived several years in the Algarve.

Between Tuesday and Thursday, investigators surveyed the excavation area using dogs, a drone and a tracked brushcutter. Some portions of the land were combed through using probes, shovels and rakes.

According to local media, investigators have collected since the beginning of the excavations samples of soil and gathered several shreds of fabric found on the spot.

Also according to the local press, the police were looking for a pink blanket or the pajamas Maddie was wearing the night she disappeared.

According to the Portuguese weekly Expresso, it was the testimony of an informant “considered very credible” by the German investigators who led them to take an interest in this place again.

25/05/2023 18:31:47 –         Silves (Portugal) (AFP) –         © 2023 AFP