'Relevant clue' found in Madeleine McCann reservoir searches

Officers were working with shovels at the Barragem do Arade in Portugal on Thursday.

Teams probing the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have reportedly found a “relevant clue” during a three-day search of a reservoir.

Officers were working with shovels at the Barragem do Arade in Portugal on Thursday, digging holes around 30 miles from where Madeleine went missing in 2007.

Materials were reportedly collected and sent to Germany for testing, but could take weeks to be analysed.

Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha reported that police found the “relevant clue” while digging.

Several items were removed from the site, reportedly including a bra strap, pieces of clothing and plastic items.

The fresh searches were carried out at the request of German investigators who believe their prime suspect, convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 45, kidnapped and murdered the little girl.

He is currently in prison in Germany for the rape of a woman in Praia da Luz in 2005, and is suspected of further rapes and child sexual abuse committed in the area between 2000 and 2017.

German authorities have not revealed what triggered the latest search operation, but prosecutor for the city of Braunschweig Christian Wolters said they were acting on the basis of “certain tips”.

The Sun reported that investigators had found images of Brueckner, who has reportedly denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance, at the reservoir.

Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia previously claimed that criminal contacts had told him that Madeleine’s body was in the water, and in 2008 he raised funds for unsuccessful private searches of the reservoir.

Four teams of officers from the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria are involved in the operation, along with at least 20 of their German counterparts, Portuguese news outlet SIC said.

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