Investigator Madeleine McCann reveals “tangible clues” that sparked a new search for reservoirs as experts scoured dense forests
The boss who led the search for the Madeleine McCann dam has revealed “specific clues” that have sparked the search for a new reservoir.
A tip from a “very credible” police informer is said to have initially prompted the police to start the search.
Portuguese sources said a German perpetrator had provided investigators with details of the movements of the main suspect, Christian B., which were being taken “very seriously”.
The allegation came as investigator chief Hans Christian Wolters said he acted on “concrete indications” there could be important evidence at the Arade Dam and reservoir.
And dozens of German, Portuguese and British police officers assigned to search the waterfront beauty spot for two days were given more time to do their job yesterday.
A Portuguese source told The Sun: “It’s clear they believe there could be something very important here – because they’ve been given more time to look for it.”
“The area will also be expanded to include an area of vegetation that will be pruned back to study the soil.”
“There are indications that the operation will continue until Thursday and possibly longer.”
Specialized remote-controlled machines were sent to the search site 50 kilometers from the Praia da Luz holiday home where three-year-old Madeleine was abducted in May 2007.
The Rotorvator-style tracked machine was controlled by a police officer walking behind it with a hand-held transmitter, and was used to move through dense undergrowth.
Officers cleared ground to widen the search area as hopes grew that the lead could lead to a breakthrough — and eventually pin sex fiend Christian B.
German police investigating the 45-year-old predator believe he may have taken Madeleine to the beauty spot he called his “little paradise” after kidnapping her when her parents Kate and Gerry were eating out.
And they remain convinced that the convicted rapist and pedophile raped and killed them before dumping her body.
Search parties took away more evidence bags yesterday after it was announced they were looking for fabric and fibers – and it was said they were looking for traces of Madeleine’s pink pyjamas.
German police are said to have linked Christian B to the dam area after pictures of him were found there in his secret stash of 8,000 sick porn pictures and videos.
But the respected Portuguese publication Expresso yesterday claimed the raid was prompted by information from a “whistle-blower”.
The German BKA federal police officer Rainer Grimm was appointed as the top police officer for the operation in Arade.
The report goes on to say: “The searches are based on a tip from an informant from the BKA, which the police consider very credible.”
“This informant told investigators details that the German police took very seriously.
“The searches were ordered by the German police after receiving this information.”
Searchers are understood to have requested more time after the first day of the operation ended Tuesday without any significant finds.
Police collected several items, including fabric – and sniffer dogs on site had also identified areas where biological evidence could be found.
But teams led by German Braunschweig prosecutor Wolters have yet to find the crucial evidence they seek.
Wolters, who wants to charge Christian B with the kidnapping and murder of Madeleine, said yesterday: “We have concrete evidence that we could find something there.”
“I have already heard that there is some speculation that this has something to do with our suspect.
“Yes, he is still a suspect in our case, but there is no evidence from Christian B. However, we have indications that we may find evidence there.
“I don’t want to say what that is exactly, nor do I want to say where these leads are coming from – the only thing I would be clear about is that it’s not coming from the suspect.”
“We currently have neither a confession or anything similar, nor any indication from the suspect where a search would make sense.”
The cautious investigator downplayed hopes for a breakthrough, adding: “We never said the girl disappeared from where we’re looking now.”
Police announced on Monday that the search would last two days and that a no-fly zone to deter drone incursion was due to end at 10pm last night.
Heavy rain on Tuesday also cost the team vital hours and they spent much of yesterday clearing undergrowth to expand the search area to include a parking lot linked to a dusty track.
Christian B is known to have parked his yellow and white VW camper van in the secluded spot behind trees where three white and cream police tents stood yesterday.
Chainsaws, string trimmers and the remote-controlled rotavator could be heard yesterday as officers – who wore masks to hide their identities – shouted orders in German.
Scotland Yard observers were also on the scene on an “observation mission” and were instructed to report to doctors Kate and Gerry at their home in Rothley, Leics.
The dam was searched in February and March 2008 by divers hired by a Portuguese lawyer – who was also acting on a tip from the underworld.
The second search found two bags containing small bones, a piece of nylon cord weighted with stones and a sock – but the items were not deemed significant.
Police divers stood by yesterday to join the professional police search but were not on duty last night.
The Arade Dam is 15 minutes’ drive from the town of Silves, where a truck driver claimed he saw a woman handing a man a baby girl two days after Madeleine’s disappearance.
The search is the first major operation of its kind since June 2014, when UK police were given permission to search Praia da Luz with sniffer dogs and ground-penetrating radar.
In a smaller operation in July 2020, Portuguese police and fire brigades searched three wells for Madeleine’s body, but could not find any trace of her.
Christian B is currently in prison for the 2005 rape of an American pensioner in Praia da Luz, just meters from the McCanns’ home.
He also faces a number of other sexual harassment charges.
German police believe he killed Madeleine – but three years after he became known as a suspect, charges are no closer.
His attorney Friedrich Fulscher insists he had nothing to do with the McCann case and is trying to dismiss him.