ARADE DAM, Portugal — Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the British child who disappeared in 2007 in Portugal, were looking for work Wednesday at several locations around the dam, including where media reports say the prime suspect in the case often lives.
The latest search for the disappearance began on Tuesday following a request by German authorities. 30 Portuguese, German and British police officers are working at the Arade dam, located 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Praia da Luz, where the 3-year-old girl was last seen 16 years ago.
In Germany, Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolters told the German journalist NDR, “We have signs that we can find evidence there. I don’t want to say what it is exactly, and I don’t want to say where these symptoms are coming from.
“The only thing I can comment on is that it’s not from the suspect – so we don’t have a confession or anything like that at this point, or any information from the suspect that would make sense to investigate,” Wolters said. , adding that “there were other signs that encouraged us to do this research.”
But Wolters appeared to be downplaying expectations of what might be found, saying, “We’ve never reported the girl missing while we’re investigating.”
Police on Tuesday are studying the area where Portuguese and Spanish media say the suspect was at the time Madeleine went missing.
Officials are heard using chainsaws to cut down trees and bushes in the area, which is far from the dam that police set up on Monday.
The police did not say much about the progress of the search so far, but the leading Portuguese daily Expresso said on Wednesday that the first day ended without major results, adding that the police collected other items including clothes and clothes. It said that in the places where the sniffer dogs were marking, they dug up the soil, possibly indicating that there was also a search for organisms.
The search is expected to end Wednesday or Thursday.
Investigators from the three countries are still trying to determine what happened the night the little boy disappeared from his bed in southern Portugal on May 3, 2007. He was in the same room as his brother and sister, who were 2 at the time, when his parents had dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.
Portuguese journalists say that this is the fourth search for McCann, following the first in 2007 in the Algarve region and other efforts in 2013 and 2014. Another search took place in Germany in 2020.
In mid-2020, German authorities said a 45-year-old German citizen, identified by the media as Christian Brueckner, who was in the Algarve in 2007, was a suspect in the case. Brueckner has refused to take any action.
Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Germany for raping a 72-year-old woman in Portugal in 2005.
He is being investigated in the McCann case, but has not been charged. He spent many years in Portugal, including in Praia da Luz, at the time Madeleine disappeared.
Currently, the reservoirs are half full due to the drought that has affected Portugal and neighboring countries Spain. Most of the areas under investigation will be at their lowest in years of normal rainfall.
Madeleine’s parents are not responding to an ongoing search, according to an email response from the website set up to search for the child, findmadeleine.com.
Ciarán Giles in Madrid, and Geir Moulson in Berlin, contributed to this article.