Five chilling clues linking Madeleine McCann and suspect Christian B to a place he dubbed a “little paradise” in a new search
Police officers search a remote reservoir and dam that Madeleine McCann suspects Christian B called his “little paradise”.
The abandoned site is just 45 minutes from the Ocean Club apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, where the three-year-old girl disappeared while on a family vacation in 2007.
Pictures taken Monday showed police tents being set up and officers searching the shoreline at the Barragem do Arade reservoir near Silves as they prepared for Tuesday’s big search.
The specific evidence that triggered the renewed hunt remains unknown.
Here we’ve broken down some clues linking Christian B – or his alleged victim – to the area.
1. Christian B camped and slept at the reservoir
Christian B is said to have visited the site often and used it as a “base”.
He is said to have often spent the night in his mobile home and used it as his “little paradise”.
Christian B was reportedly “seen there often” and sometimes spent the night in the barren area.
A source also told The Sun that the sex offender would be using the area as a base.
Portuguese broadcaster SIC reported that in an official court request to Portugal, German police asked permission to search the dam after concluding it was an “area of interest”.
It said: “Investigators are aware that suspect Christian B regularly came to this dam.
“He called it his little paradise and stayed here often. He was often seen here.
“The German authorities considered this reservoir an area of interest and finally sent an international request or request for legal assistance.”
The new hunt is understood to be a German-led operation coordinated with the help of Portuguese police.
German police have been investigating Christian B for a long time. Despite slow progress, they announced last month that “nothing has changed”.
Christian B’s lawyers were defiant and long maintained his innocence.
A source told The Sun: “British authorities will also come to oversee the search and the Germans may join the search.” The operation is expected to take two days – maybe longer.
“We also hear that crime science experts will be joining.
“Most of this will be on land but also some on the dam water which is very shallow at the moment due to a drought.”
The investigation is said to involve divers exploring the murky depths of the reservoir behind the dam, while police officers are said to be digging up the forest by the water.
According to local reports, about “80 percent” of searches are conducted on land, with the rest underwater.
Before searching the lake in 2008, officers received a mysterious tip from an “underworld” source that Madeleine was “murdered” and “thrown into an abandoned lake” – which some believe is the Arade Reservoir acts.
2. The suspect lived in a mansion just 12 miles from the crime scene
Christian B is said to have once lived very close to the place he “frequently” visited.
A source told The Sun: “[Christian B] moved in this area. He had a house 12 miles from that place.”
The Arade Dam also sits between where Christian B parked his derelict motorhome in Praia da Luz and the creepy, isolated villa he would stay in in Foral.
The site is only a 40 minute drive from his abandoned home in Portugal.
3. A possible sighting of Madeleine in the area
The location of the current search is a short drive from Silves, where a truck driver reported a sighting to police two days after Madeleine’s disappearance.
The man claimed he saw a woman hand a child who looked like the missing toddler to a mystery man – a possible piece of evidence that police have thoroughly trawled through in the past.
4. The underworld clue that claimed Madeleine was in the lake
The same reservoir was searched twice by divers on behalf of a Portuguese lawyer, in February and March 2008.
Marcos Aragao Correia organized the privately funded operation after claiming he received an “underworld” tip.
The lawyer claimed his contacts told him that Madeleine was murdered within 48 hours of her disappearance and her body was dumped in the reservoir.
In 2008, Marcos said: “They told me she was thrown into a deserted lake with murky water. I am convinced that this is the right place.
“My sources tell me Madeleine was thrown into a deserted lake with murky water, a beach and lots of trees,” the Mirror reported.
“Based on my research, I believe that would have been the best place for someone to dump the body.”
He explained that the police ignored his tip. “I was able to identify the location on December 10th and immediately called the police, but they did nothing.
“I got tired of waiting for them to act on my information, so I decided to take action.”
5. Clues found during a 2008 search of the lake
The search dredged several suspicious items from the reservoir, which was 150 feet deep in places, but none that were used in the investigation.
Divers discovered 17 feet of cord, some plastic tie, and a single white cotton sock.
The second search found two bags containing small bones.
Portuguese police were alerted after the discovery, but ruled out the possibility that the bones were human due to their size.
Madeleine’s parents Gerry and Kate McCann had previously dismissed Mr Correia as a self-promoter, saying there was no evidence their daughter was linked to the reservoir.
No search is known to have taken place since March 2008 as part of the ongoing investigation into her disappearance.
Earlier this month, Kate and Gerry posted a poignant tribute to their daughter’s 20th birthday, telling her: “We love you and are waiting for you. We will never give up.”
They added: “Happy birthday Madeleine. Still missing. Still very much missed. still searching As long as it takes.”
The message on the official Find Maddie campaign Facebook page accompanied a popular last photo of her as a three-year-old, beaming in a pink sun hat and holding tennis balls.
Kate and Gerry are expected to be kept up to date with any developments regarding the new search by Scotland Yard’s liaison officers.
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters has consistently said he is convinced Madeleine is dead and the jailed pedophile, 45, has been named as the sole suspect.
The renegade, who is currently serving a sentence for the September 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American man at the resort where Madeleine disappeared, has not been formally charged in the teen’s disappearance.
Last April, he was officially suspected of Madeleine’s disappearance.
In the autumn he was charged in Germany with several sex crimes against women and children in the Algarve.
These included the rape of an Irish holiday rep in 2004 and the sexual abuse of a female child on a beach near Praia da Luz in 2007.
His lawyer announced in April that the charges against him had been dropped in a bang after successfully arguing that prosecutors in Braunschweig, where the Madeleine case was being tried, had no jurisdiction over him.
Braunschweig prosecutor Mr Wolters has insisted they remain in control of the Madeleine McCann investigation.
In July 2020, Portuguese police and firefighters searched three wells for Madeleine’s body but could not find any trace of her.
The abandoned wells are 15 minutes’ drive from a rented holiday home on the outskirts of Praia da Luz, down a narrow road leading to a beach where the pedophile used to park his VW camper van.
Scotland Yard’s excavations at Praia da Luz nearly nine years ago were linked to the UK police’s leading theory that Madeleine died in a burglary and burglars dumped her body nearby.
No trace of the missing youth was found during the searches.