German garden search continues amid Madeleine McCann probe

German garden search continues amid Madeleine McCann probe
Germany Britain Missing Girl

German police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have searched a garden plot in Hannover in connection with their probe, prosecutors said.

Julia Meyer, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office in Braunschweig confirmed local media reports that police investigating the case had been at the site since Monday with an excavator.

"The procedure is taking place in connection with our investigation regarding Maddie McCann," she told The Associated Press.

Ms Meyer said she could not give any further details on the procedure, adding only that police would "still need some more time to finish".

The British youngster was aged three at the time of her 2007 disappearance from an apartment while her family was on holiday in the seaside town of Praia da Luz in Portugal's Algarve region.

Germany police officers at an allotment garden plot in Seelze, near Hannover, Germany, Tuesday July 28, 2020. Picture: Peter Steffen/dpa via AP
Germany police officers at an allotment garden plot in Seelze, near Hannover, Germany, Tuesday July 28, 2020. Picture: Peter Steffen/dpa via AP

The suspect, who is currently in prison in Germany, spent many years in Portugal, including in Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, and has two previous convictions for "sexual contact with girls", authorities have said.

Authorities have not released the suspect's name, but he has been widely identified by German media as Christian Brueckner.

He was last registered as living in Germany in the city of Braunschweig, which is about 40 miles from Hannover.

Earlier this month, Portuguese authorities searched wells as part of their investigation into the disappearance of the missing child, according to reports.

The Mirror reported that police and divers in the Algarve region examined three disused wells in Vila do Bispo for eight hours.

The area searched was around 10 miles from the Praia da Luz resort, where Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007.

Multiple investigators were at the scene with specialist diving equipment to examine the wells.

According to the paper, Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann were not told on what grounds authorities searched the wells.

It was also reported the search sites are near a beach where suspect Christian Brueckner's campervan was photographed in 2007.

A children's slide can be seen on the grounds of an allotment garden plot in Seelze, near Hannover, Germany. Picture: Peter Steffen/dpa via AP
A children's slide can be seen on the grounds of an allotment garden plot in Seelze, near Hannover, Germany. Picture: Peter Steffen/dpa via AP

He suspect is known to have lived on the Algarve coast and his Portuguese mobile phone received a half-hour phone call in Praia da Luz around an hour before Madeleine went missing 13 years ago.

He is in jail in Germany for drug dealing, and is appealing against a conviction for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old woman, also at Praia da Luz.

Investigators say they are convinced that he has committed other sex attacks.

The searches in Portugal came after Kate and Gerry McCann denied receiving a letter from German investigators stating "there is evidence or proof" that Madeleine is dead.

The pair posted a statement on the 'Find Madeleine' website last month to deny the reported claims, saying that the news caused "unnecessary anxiety to friends and family and once again disrupted our lives".

The couple also said that they do not have a family spokesman, and are not actively paying any lawyers to represent them.

German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters told the PA news agency that a letter had been written to the couple, but would not reveal what it said.

Mr Wolters said prosecutors have "concrete evidence", but not "forensic evidence" that Madeleine was killed by the suspect and may "know more" than Scotland Yard, who are still treating the case as a missing-person investigation.

Madeline McCann went missing on 2007. Stock picture
Madeline McCann went missing on 2007. Stock picture

The Metropolitan Police maintain their active investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, Operation Grange, is a missing person inquiry as there is no "definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead".

In the days after the renewed appeal, Scotland Yard said they received hundreds of tips to their Operation Grange team.

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