Lisbon (EFE).- The Portuguese Police, in collaboration with German and British agents, resumed this Tuesday in the south of Portugal the search for the British girl Madeleine McCann, 16 years after her disappearance, amid strong security that prevents access to the area by both land and air.
The police operation takes place at the request of the German authorities at the Arade dam, some 50 kilometers from Praia da Luz (where the girl disappeared in 2007) and one of the places frequented by the main suspect, Christian Brueckner.
Observed by dozens of Portuguese and foreign journalists, several police teams and a canine unit have been working on the ground since Tuesday morning with a focus on the terrestrial environment of the reservoir, according to the Portuguese channel SIC Notícias.
The authorities have prohibited the overflight of drones, aircraft and helicopters in the search area, where the Portuguese Police have installed several booths.
The objective is to obtain new evidence about the disappearance of the minor 16 years later, ranging from human traces to incriminating evidence that Brueckner (currently detained in Germany) could have left buried in the ground.
The searches are expected to last until at least this Wednesday.
Chronology of the most relevant events of the Madeleine case:
– May 3: The 3-year-old girl Madeleine McCann disappears when she was sleeping with her siblings in an apartment in the Algarve, while her parents were having dinner with some friends at a restaurant in the holiday complex.
– May 15: The Portuguese Police designates the British citizen Robert Murat, a resident of the complex, as a suspect.
– August 5: British Police dogs identify traces of blood and the smell of a corpse in the family apartment and in the vehicle that the McCanns, doctors by profession, rented weeks after the disappearance of the minor.
– September 7/8: The girl’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, become suspects, after testifying before the Police.
– September 9: The McCanns leave Portugal and return to their home in Leicestershire (United Kingdom).
– October 2: Pressured by his criticism of the media and the British authorities, inspector Gonçalo Amaral, head of the investigation in Portugal, resigns.
– February 3: The Portuguese Police admit that there may have been haste in declaring the McCann couple suspicious.
– March 19: Four British tabloid newspapers publicly apologize to the McCanns for the information they provided and compensate them with 550,000 pounds (698,500 euros).
– July 21: The Portuguese Justice archives the case for lack of conclusive evidence and withdraws the condition of suspects from the McCanns and Murat.
– January, September and April: The McCanns make several visits to Portugal to reactivate the search for the little girl.
– February 18: The McCanns win the trial against former inspector Amaral and the sale of his first book, “Maddie”, is prohibited, a measure that was nevertheless lifted in September.
– May 12: The McCanns request a review of the case by letter to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron.
– May 18: Scotland Yard begins to review the case.
– April 25: Scotland Yard reports that it is working on the hypothesis that Madeleine is alive and presents an image of what the girl would look like today.
– May 17: Scotland Yard announces that they have identified “various persons of interest” related to the case.
– October 14: London Police release two electronic images of a white man between the ages of 20 and 40 allegedly seen by two witnesses in the vicinity of the apartment on the day of Madeleine’s disappearance. The disclosure takes place just a few hours before the broadcast of a program on the case, after which more than a thousand people contact the Police to provide information.
– October 24: The Portuguese Prosecutor’s Office reports the reopening of the Madeleine case due to the appearance of new evidence.
– May 5: It turns out that a pedophile suspected of Madeleine’s kidnapping is being investigated.
– June 3: Christian Brueckner, imprisoned in Germany for other crimes, is identified as a suspect in the disappearance.
– June 4: The German Prosecutor’s Office in Braunschweig confirms that it is based on the fact that Madeleine is dead and suspects that Brueckner is the author.
– June 5: The Portuguese Prosecutor’s Office reports that there are “proceedings in progress”, mainly investigation of witnesses.
– April 21: The suspect is officially charged with the disappearance of Maddie by the German authorities, at the request of the Portuguese Prosecutor’s Office.
– September 20: The Strasbourg Court rejects the claim of Madeleine’s parents, who considered that their reputation was stained with the police theory that they had been responsible for what happened.
– May 23: The Portuguese Police begin new searches for the disappearance of Maddie in a reservoir 50 kilometers from where she disappeared.