Portuguese police have said ‘material collected’ following three days of the renewed search for Madeleine McCann will be sent to Germany for analysis.
Officers have been scouring a reservoir in the Algarve region this week in the first major search for the missing British three-year-old in a decade.
Portugal’s Judicial Police confirmed the search Monday, saying it was requested by German prosecutors and would be done in the presence of British officials.
The spit of land at the centre of the search is only 30 miles from the Praia da Luz resort where Madeleine vanished while on holiday with her family 16 years ago.
Woodland by the Barragem do Arade has been flattened by officers who have sliced it apart with chainsaws, dug a number of holes and used sniffer dogs.
Polícia Judiciária, which focuses on serious crimes, said that after three days of excavation officers have been told to stand down.
German prosecutors in Braunschweig initiated the search as they seek to prove that Christian B, a German rapist and sex offender, was involved in Madeleine’s disappearance.
Now any ‘material’ collected in the search is being sent to Germany for analysis, a spokesperson for the Polícia Judiciária said today.
‘The steps requested by the German authorities, through a request for international cooperation, have been fulfilled, which resulted in the collection of some material that will be subject to the competent expertise,’ they said.
‘The operation was coordinated by the judiciary police, which involved investigators, criminal experts and security personnel.
‘Safeguarding the interests of the investigation still underway in Portugal, the collected material will be delivered to the German authorities.’
Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolters told the German public broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) that the results of the search will be published next week, though it is unknown if anything significant was found.
‘Of course, there is a certain expectation,’ he added, ‘but it is not high.’
‘Of course, we are still looking for the body. We’re not just looking for that, of course. There are other things too,’ the prosecutor said.
‘Any discovery of clothing could help the investigation.’
Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s parents, said they left her and her siblings, two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, in their holiday apartment to dine at a local restaurant on May 3 2007.
Madeileine’s father checked on the children at about 9pm – there was nothing to report. But one hour later, Kate found her daughter had disappeared.
The young girl’s disappearance has gripped Britain and Europe for years since, with tens of thousands promised in rewards for any information leading to her whereabouts.
In 2020, German authorities dashed more than a decade of hope by making clear that they do not expect to find Madeleine alive.
The woodland now at the centre of the new search had been frequented by Christian B in the past, the Portuguese daily Expresso reported.
The man lived on and off in the Algarve region from 1995 to 2007, which he described as his ‘little paradise’.
He has a lengthy criminal record for child sex abuse as well as drug offences.
Christian B has long denied wrongdoing and has never been charged. In 2022, Portuguese police named him as a formal suspect.
On May 3 this year, Madeleine’s family gathered as they have done so many times to commemorate the 16th anniversary of her disappearance.
‘Still missing… still very much missed,’ they wrote on their website.
‘The police investigation continues, and we await a breakthrough.’
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