Madeleine McCann police searching Portuguese lake for ‘her pink pyjamas’
Police are searching a Portuguese lake for the pink pyjamas Madeleine McCann was wearing when she vanished in 2007, sources close to the investigation have said.
Officers are searching the Barragem do Arade reservoir in Portugal for any fragments of clothing or old rags that could be related to Madeleine’s disappearance, according to reports.
Investigators suspect that 45-year-old German prisoner Christian Brueckner killed Madeleine, then aged three, after abducting her from a holiday apartment.
It is believed Brueckner used to visit the reservoir that police are now searching.
Police in Germany claim to have “concrete evidence” that the British girl is dead though this has not been proven, and Brueckner has denied any involvement in the disappearance and has not been charged.
Brueckner is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Germany for raping a 72-year-old woman in Portugal in 2005.
Searches at the Portuguese reservoir began on Tuesday, 23 May at the request of German police in the presence of British officers.
Detectives searching the area took “a number of bags” away from the reservoir on Tuesday. It was not clear what was inside them.
The reservoir is around 31 miles from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. While divers scoured the water, police were seen digging beside the reservoir on Tuesday afternoon.
Sniffer dogs have also been used by police to search both sides of the water, and police were seen hammering away at the ground with pickaxes and combing through small rocks with rakes and spades.
A Portuguese source told The Sun: “The search is being taken very seriously and is being controlled totally by the Germans.
“They asked Portuguese officers assisting them to look for any evidence – but especially rags.”
Meanwhile, The Times reported that Madeleine’s pyjamas, which were pink with images of Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh, were a focus of the search.
German prosecutors confirmed they were searching the reservoir but were unable to provide further details “for tactical reasons”.
Prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters told German state broadcaster NDR that they “have grounds to believe” they could find evidence in the area.
Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann are being kept informed of developments, their spokesman said.
“Until a body is found and proved to be Madeleine’s, Kate and Gerry are not giving up hope. They will be kept informed every step of the way of any development. It leaves Kate and Gerry on tenterhooks. It is another incredibly difficult time for them,” the spokesman said.
This is the fourth search for the missing British girl, following the initial one in 2007 in the Algarve area and further efforts in 2013 and 2014.