His look was possibly the most recognized in the world. The mark in the iris of her right eye became quite a symbol. The disappearance of a minor monopolizes the attention of the Press for a few weeks. But with [[LINK:EXTERNO||||||Madeleine McCann]]everything was very different. And now, sixteen years after she was last seen on vacation with her parents in the Algarve, police searches have returned to southern Portugal in a new attempt to solve the case.
Portuguese, German and British troops began a new search yesterday as a result of a request made by the German Prosecutor’s Office, where the only suspect reported to date, Christian Brueckner, a 46-year-old German, convicted pedophile (accumulating convictions since 1994), remains in custody. ), drug dealer and thief.
The Brunswick Prosecutor’s Office confirmed in a brief statement the start of these works, although without giving more information about it. The search is focused around the Arade dam, located about 50 kilometers from Praia da Luz, the place where the girl lost track when she was with her family on vacation in the Algarve.
The Portuguese authorities have established a wide perimeter and have prohibited aircraft, including drones, from flying over the area. For now, no searches are planned in the water, although a boat and a team of specialists have been deployed if necessary, according to Portuguese television. The Arade reservoir had already been searched in 2008, when divers found bones that were later discovered to be animal remains.
On May 3, 2007, Madeleine disappeared from a resort room where she was sleeping with her younger siblings. She was about to turn four years old. Her parents were having dinner with some friends in the restaurant of the same complex. The adults took turns every so often to check on the children. At 9:05 p.m. Gerry, the minor’s father, verified that her three children were sleeping. The blinds were down and the window closed. At 10:00 p.m., Kate, the girl’s mother, does the same, but Madeleine had disappeared. The window was open. The blinds up.
The Portuguese investigation was closed prematurely in July 2008 and all the suspects were released without charge. Among them, Bruckner. Following the McCanns’ pleas to the British government, Scotland Yard reopened the investigation in 2011. And everything took a new turn in 2020, when authorities officially identified Brueckner as a suspect in the disappearance. The man had been jailed again in Germany at the end of 2019 for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American tourist in Praia da Luz, the same area where ‘Maddie’ was last seen.
The German Prosecutor’s Office in Braunschweig works with the theory that the girl died at the hands of the pedophile who has a long history of sexual abuse crimes. Investigation of her movements showed, from her mobile phone trace, that she was near the holiday resort where the McCanns were staying the night Madeleine was abducted.
That summer of 2007, Brückner was already investigated by the Portuguese Judicial Police. But then his profile was dropped by detectives in the Algarve, around the same time the girl’s parents were declared “official suspects.” Under the leadership of the controversial Goncalo Amaral, the Portuguese police spent months trying to prove that the parents accidentally killed their daughter and tried to cover it up.
The pressure on the detectives was maximum. The whole world was watching them waiting for them to solve the case. And the failure to fully investigate Brückner was just one link in a long chain of errors.
In the critical first hours after the disappearance, crucial evidence was lost when the apartment was not sealed. At least 50 people were able to pass through the room, destroying any forensic leads. The agents themselves also contaminated the area by not wearing protective clothing and even smoking and throwing ashes inside the apartment. In addition, detectives did not submit Madeleine’s bedding for her forensics and, ultimately, hotel staff laundered it along with sheets from other resort guests.
In recent years, many young women have claimed to be Madeleine. The last one has been the Polish Julia Faustyna Wendell, but the results of the DNA tests ruled out any link with the McCanns.