Investigators in the 16-year-old case of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann have “seized a number of items” from a reservoir in Portugal, German officials said Thursday.
The Braunschweig Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the discovery, but said it was too early to determine whether the items are connected to the missing girl, who was last seen in May 2007.
“The search operation carried out last week in the area of the Arade reservoir in Portugal ended on Thursday after three days as planned,” it said in a statement, the UK’s Telegraph reported.
“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,” officials added.
German, Portuguese and British law enforcement took part in the three-day search in the Algarve region of Portugal, where they were seen scouring the banks of the Barragem do Arade dam.
The area is about 30 miles from the Praia da Luz resort, where Madeleine, of Leicester, was last seen when the 3-year-old was on vacation with her parents and infant siblings.
Officials in the three countries conducted the sweep after a “very credible tip” suggested that convicted rapist Christian Brueckner visited the site in the days after the tot disappeared.
“German officers have gone through more than 8,000 pictures belonging to Christian B.,” a source told The Sun. “That forensic work led them to [the dam] – but there are other places that have come up in the pictures too.”
Brueckner – a German national who is identified in court documents as “Christian B” due to privacy laws – was officially named a suspect in April 2022.
The suspect, who had been living in the Praia da Luz area at the time of the girl’s disappearance, is currently behind bars in Germany for the 2005 rape of an elderly woman.
A court has recently declined to try him on several additional counts of rape and child sexual abuse, all of which took place near the swanky seaside resort.
Police at the Arade reservoir were interested in uncovering a stolen gun and camcorder that allegedly had footage of Brueckner raping at least two women.
Brueckner has denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance, saying he was “miles away” at the time.