After 16 Years, a Big Development in McCann Case

Police plan to search reservoir 30 miles from where British girl was last seen in 2007
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2023 1:34 PM CDT
Cops to Search Reservoir in Madeleine McCann Case
This image distributed Monday, June 8, 2020, by Italian police shows Christian Brueckner.   (Carabinieri via AP)

Sixteen years after Madeleine McCann disappeared in Portugal, there has been a major development in the case: Police are planning to search a reservoir in the Algarve region around 30 miles away from where the British girl went missing. Sources tell Reuters that German authorities requested the search as part of their investigation of Christian Brueckner, a sex offender who is currently in prison for raping a 72-year-old American woman in the same region of Portugal. Brueckner was formally identified as a suspect in the McCann case last year.

Brueckner was living in the Algarve region when Madeleine disappeared in May 2007, just before her fourth birthday. German prosecutors say phone records show he was in the area when the girl disappeared from her family's hotel room. The Times of London reports that according to Portuguese broadcaster SIC, investigators believe Brueckner, who lived in a camper van, spent a lot of time at the reservoir. "He would call it his little paradise and would often spend the night here. He was seen here often," SIC said.

The reservoir was searched twice in 2008 after a Portuguese lawyer said underworld sources had told him the girl's body had been thrown in there, the Times reports. "You can’t see anything down there. The divers are searching entirely by touch, feeling in the silt for anything suspicious," the leader of the dive team said at the time. "It's a long, slow process." Earlier this month, parents Kate and Gerry McCann marked what would have been their daughter's 20th birthday, the BBC reports. "Happy birthday Madeleine. Still missing. Still very much missed," they said in a Facebook post. "Still looking. For as long as it takes." (More Madeleine McCann stories.)

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