Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Madeleine McCann's parents face waiting months for analysis of 'relevant clue'

A ‘relevant clue’ was said to have been found during the latest search for Madeleine McCann – but it may take months to be analysed.

A three-day search of the Barragem do Arade reservoir in Portugal came to a close yesterday, with no apparent significant results found.

But Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha claimed a ‘relevant clue’ was found during the last part of the search yesterday.

It reported several items including a bra strap, items of clothing and plastic items were removed from the site, although they may or may not be of relevance.

Eight large, deep holes were dug to collect soil samples, which have been sent for DNA and forensic testing in Germany.

But Madeleine’s parents could face a long wait as although initial results are expected next week, a full analysis could take months.

Police started searching the remote reservoir after they reportedly received ‘certain tips’ about the case.

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The area is 31 miles away from where Madeleine, who was three at the time, went missing in Praia de Luz in 2007.

Briefing tents were taken down and heavy machinery was removed from the site after the final stages of searches concluded yesterday, and police cordons were lifted.

A concentrated area of woodland around 160ft square had been flattened, with pathways cut by machinery.

A no-fly zone was also imposed over the area while the search was carried out.

Huge piles of soil and broken rock were left next to the area, where officers were seen with shovels for several hours this week.

Metropolitan Police officers were also present in order to inform Madeleine’s parents of any developments.

German investigators, who requested the search be carried out, believe convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 45, is behind the disappearance of the young girl.

He is 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 in the area between 2000 and 2017.

It was reported investigators found photos and videos of Brueckner at the reservoir being searched.

But prosecutor Christian Wolters told German public broadcaster NDR they had no confession or ‘any indication from the suspect of where it would make sense to search’.

Brueckner is said to have denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

The Home Office granted an extra £110,000 in funding this year for the Metropolitan Police to help with the search, down from just over £300,000 last year.

The total funding given to Operation Grange has been just under £13.1 million since 2011.

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