Madeleine McCann update: Latest news as soil found at reservoir tested against Christian Brueckner’s van

Police were scouring the remote Barragem do Arade reservoir in the Algarve, Portugal last week, around 35 miles from where the then-three-year-old went missing in 2007 while on a family holiday in Praia da Luz

Soil from a reservoir in Portugal searched by police last month is being compared with samples from main suspect Christian Brueckner’s camper van, it has been reported.

Detectives believe Brueckner visited the remote Barragem do Arade reservoir in Portugal’s Algarve region days after Madeleine disappeared.

Officials now believe they can prove that Brueckner’s van was in the area at the time the three-year-old was abducted , sources told The Daily Mirror.

The insider claimed that if the soil sample analysis reveals a “positive match”, police may be able to further “close the net” around Brueckner, 45, who has not yet been charged.

Earlier, a forensics expert warned that “traditional” evidence will be difficult to find after 16 years have passed since Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

Dan Matthews said that investigators would have searched the remote reservoir in Portugal for “things that could’ve stood the test of time and not been destroyed by its passage”, such as clothing fragments or jewelry.


Timeline of missing Madeleine’s disappearance

The mystery began when the McCanns – affluent doctors Kate and Gerry, their three-year-old daughter Madeleine and her two-year-old twin siblings – joined a group of seven family friends and their five children on holiday at the Ocean Club in the village of Praia da Luz on the southwestern tip of Portugal on 28 April 2007.

After a pleasant spring break by the sea, the adults in the party went out for dinner at the resort’s open-air tapas bar on 3 May, gathering at 8.30pm. The children were left behind sleeping in their respective apartments with the doors unlocked and a rota system in place among the parents to ensure that someone returned every half-hour to check on them.

When Kate McCann took her turn and returned to her apartment at 10pm, she raced back to the restaurant screaming “Madeleine’s gone! Someone’s taken her!” The police were quickly called and 60 staff and fellow guests searched the complex, calling out the girl’s name in vain until daybreak the following morning.

Border police and airport staff were put on alert and hundreds of volunteers joined the efforts to find the missing girl over the coming days, the case fast becoming a sensation.

Kate and Gerry McCann are still waiting for answers 16 years on

(Leon Neal/AFP/Getty)

Sam Rkaina9 June 2023 08:00


‘Traditional’ evidence from reservoir search ‘could be microscopic’

Forensics expert Dan Matthews has warned “traditional” evidence might be difficult to find now 16 years have passed since Madeleine’s disappearance.

The Forensic Science Senior Lecturer at the University of Lincoln suggested investigators would be searching the remote reservoir for “things that could’ve stood the test of time and not been destroyed by its passage”, such as clothing fragments, plastic items or jewellry.

“If they’re looking for body remains, then the only things remaining will be skeletal,” he added.

Police will be hoping to have found something that links back to Madeleine’s case, but Mr Matthews says how long it will take to get the results of the search is “very difficult to say”.

Clothing, for example, should not take long to analyse, he explained – but any fragment could be microscopic and could have significantly deteriorated over such a long period of time.

“The analysis can be quite an arduous process,” he said. “Especially when you’ve got samples that are not in pristine condition.

“You could potentially be looking at things that are not visible to the naked eye and using something like a microscope takes time.”

Sam Rkaina9 June 2023 07:21


Who is Christian Brueckner? Madeleine McCann suspect and the accusations against him

German prisoner Christian Brueckner was first named in connection with the unsolved mystery that summer, and officially named as a suspect last year. His yellow and white VW T3 Westfalia campervan was reportedly identified as having been near to the Praia da Luz resort in Portugal where the young girl went missing on May 3, 2007.

But who is he? Lucy Skoulding reports:

Sam Rkaina8 June 2023 09:00


ICYMI: How much has the Madeleine McCann investigation cost?

After laying dormant for several years since David Cameron kickstarted an ultimately fruitless Metropolitan Police inquiry in 2011, the case of the missing three-year-old was revived once more in 2020 when German prosecutors revealed a new suspect.

Here, Andy Gregory takes a look at how much the investigation has cost:

Matt Mathers8 June 2023 08:47


ICYMI: Items seized in Madeleine McCann search ‘cannot yet be linked’ to disappearance

German prosecutors have said items seized as part of fresh searches for evidence in the Madeleine McCann case cannot yet be linked with the investigation into her disappearance.

A large section of the Barragem do Arade reservoir in Portugal was cordoned off last week, about 30 miles from where three-year-old Madeleine went missing in 2007.

Matt Mathers7 June 2023 10:20


How Madeleine McCann search at reservoir unfolded – and what police found

Police combed the remote Barragem do Arade in response to what was vaguely described as “certain tips” about an area the prime suspect in the case, Christian Brueckner, regularly frequented between 2000 and 2017.

Although police are remaining tight-lipped about the details, they said they recovered “a number of items” from the scene, which will now be evaluated in the coming days in the hope of shedding light on the ongoing mystery surrounding Madeleine’s disappearance from an Algarve holiday resort on 3 May 2007.

Hans Christian Wolters, prosecutor for the city of Braunschweig, said last week: “Whether some of the items actually relate to the Madeleine McCann case cannot yet be confirmed.”

Portugal Germany Madeleine McCann

(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Sam Rkaina6 June 2023 21:42


Police who searched reservoir were looking for a gun and camcorder

Detectives in the Madeleine McCann case who searched a reservoir in Portugal were looking for Christian B’s gun and camcorder, it has been reported.

The paper said German police were tipped off by a criminal informer who said the items had been stolen from  Christian B’s house.

Matt Mathers5 June 2023 14:05


ICYMI: Madeleine McCann police confirm ‘number of items’ recovered from Algarve reservoir search

German authorities last week helped Portuguese crews comb a remote area inland from the Algarve coastal resort where Madeleine went missing from her bedroom during a family holiday in 2007.

Matt Mathers5 June 2023 10:55


ICYMI: Madeleine McCann police shouldn’t just focus on prime suspect, forensics expert warns

Forensics experts have warned investigators in the Madeleine McCann case cannot focus purely on their prime suspect and that, 16 years after she disappeared, “traditional” evidence may not have survived.

German authorities last week helped Portuguese crews comb a remote reservoir inland from the Algarve coastal resort in Portugal where the then-three-year-old Madeleine went missing from her bedroom on a family holiday in 2007.

Matt Mathers5 June 2023 10:30


Sixteen years and countless heartbreaks: Where are Madeleine McCann’s family now?

Parents refuse to give up hope and have spoken movingly about ‘new normality’ of raising twins without their missing daughter, Joe Sommerlad reports.

Read the full story here:

Matt Mathers5 June 2023 10:00

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