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Madeleine McCann's investigators search the German allocation


The German police searched a parcel near Hanover today in connection with the Madeleine McCann case.

The police dug out the garden with "heavy equipment" including an excavator after fencing the plot this morning four miles outside Hanover, where the suspect Christian Brueckner once lived.

"I can confirm that the search will be conducted in connection with our Maddie investigation," said Julia Meyer of the Braunschweig public prosecutor's office.

What the police were looking for was not clear, but Brueckner is said to have lived in a caravan in the area and worked in a car repair shop between the spells living in Portugal.

The German police are today using an excavator in an allotment near Hanover in an operation related to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007

The police dug out the garden with "heavy equipment" including an excavator after fencing the plot this morning

A policeman on the property, which was searched today by the German police

The police dug out the garden with "heavy equipment" including an excavator after fencing the plot this morning

Brueckner is the main suspect in the kidnapping and murder of three-year-old Madeleine (left) in 2007 when she was on vacation in Praia da Luz

Brueckner (picture) is currently in a German prison in Kiel for a drug-related prison sentence

Christian Brueckner (right) is the main suspect in the kidnapping and murder of three-year-old Madeleine (left) in 2007 when she was on vacation in Praia da Luz

The police were looking for a parcel in the red marked area outside the city of Hanover in northern Germany

What do we know about Maddie's murder suspect Christian Brueckner and his criminal past?

1976: Christian Brueckner was born in Würzburg under a different name. He was adopted by the Brueckner family and adopted their surname.

1992: Brueckner is arrested in his Bavarian hometown of Würzburg on suspicion of burglary.

1994: He is sentenced to two years in prison for "abusing a child" and "performing sexual acts in front of a child".

1995: Brueckner comes to Portugal as an 18-year-old backpacker and starts working in the restaurants in Lagos and Praia da Luz. But friends say he was involved in a criminal syndicate that traded drugs to the Algarve.

September 2005: He puts on a mask and breaks into an apartment where he rapes a 72-year-old American tourist.

The victim was tied up, gagged, blindfolded, and flogged with a metal pipe before being raped for 15 minutes. She said afterwards that he clearly enjoyed "torturing" her before the rape.

April 2007: He moves from a farmhouse into a mobile home that is now linked to the crime. The farmhouse is cleaned and a bag of wigs and "exotic clothes" are found.

May 3, 2007: Madeleine McCann is torn from her bed around 10 p.m. when her parents eat tapas with friends who are only a few meters away. Brücker's cell phone takes him to the area that night. Shortly thereafter, he returns to his home country.

October 2011: He is sentenced to 21 months in prison in Niebüll in northern Germany for “drug trafficking”.

2014: He moves to Braunschweig, where he runs a kiosk in the city center. He then returns to Portugal with a friend.

2016: He is back in Germany. He is sentenced to 15 months in prison for "sexually abusing a child to create and own pornographic material for children."

May 3, 2017: Brueckner is said to be in a bar with a friend when an appeal is made on German television for the tenth anniversary after Madeleine's disappearance. He is said to have told him in a bar that he "knew everything about what happened to her." The friend apparently went to the police.

June 2017: He returns to Portugal and is again extradited to Germany, where he is sentenced to 15 months in prison for the sexual abuse of a child.

August 2018: After being released from prison, he lives on the street. But he was jailed again for drug offenses.

September 2018: Brueckner is arrested in Milan and extradited to Germany to be tried for raping the American tourist after a DNA match with the hair found at the scene.

July 2019: He is sentenced to 21 months in prison for drug trafficking in the northern German resort of Sylt.

August 2019: Brueckner is charged with raping American tourists in Praia da Luz in 2005.

December 2019: He is convicted of raping the tourist on the basis of DNA evidence. He is sentenced to seven years in prison, but has not yet started due to a continuing appeal.

June 4, 2020: Brueckner is named by the German media as the main suspect for Madeleine's disappearance.

According to the local newspaper HAZ, the search took place between the cities of Ahlem and Seelze west of Hanover's city center.

Meyer said that she could not give any further details about the process, adding that the police "would need some more time to finish".

The search was carried out by officials from the public prosecutor's office in Braunschweig, where Brückner was convicted of rape last year, and the German federal police.

The professional criminal Brueckner was identified as the new prime suspect in June after the German police released a number of new pieces of evidence, including details of his cars and phone numbers, and asked people to provide new evidence.

Investigators in Germany at the time said Madeleine was believed dead and went further than the British police who still treat the child's disappearance as a missing person case.

Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, denied having received a letter from German investigators last month saying there was evidence or evidence that Madeleine was dead.

German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, who heads the German investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, said that a letter had been written to the couple but would not reveal what was inside.

Mr. Wolters said prosecutors have "concrete evidence" but no "forensic evidence" that Madeleine was killed by the suspect and may "know more" than Scotland Yard, who are still treating the case as a missing person investigation.

The city police are continuing their active investigation into Madeleine's disappearance. Operation Grange is an investigation into a missing person because there is no "definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead."

In the days following the call, Scotland Yard said they had received hundreds of tips from their Operation Grange team.

Brueckner is currently in prison in Kiel, although a trial is underway in which he could be released shortly after two thirds of his sentence.

He is currently in prison for drug trafficking and is appealing a conviction for raping a 72-year-old woman in 2005, also in Praia da Luz.

This verdict is not final until the defendant's lawyers have appealed for extradition techniques.

Brueckner is said to have worked in a car workshop when he lived in a caravan in Hanover, and his last known address in Germany was 40 miles away in Braunschweig.

The Portuguese authorities are also continuing to investigate and searched a number of wells in the Algarve earlier this month.

Police and divers in the Algarve examined a number of disused wells in Vila do Bispo, about 16 km from Praia da Luz.

Several investigators were on site with special diving equipment to examine the wells, with the greatest thought being more than 40 feet deep.

Brueckner is known to have lived in the Algarve, and his Portuguese mobile phone received a half-hour call to Praia da Luz about an hour before Madeleine's disappearance 13 years ago – an important piece of evidence for the German investigation.

The police hope to locate the person who made the call and consider them a key witness to Brücker's movements on the night of Madeleine's disappearance.

Brueckner made his living by doing odd jobs in the area where Madeleine had disappeared, and was also known to have broken into hotel rooms and vacation homes.

He has not yet spoken to investigators who say they are convinced that he has committed other sexual assaults.

Uniformed German police officers on an allotment plot near Hanover, where Madeleine McCann's investigation into the disappearance continues today

Uniformed German police officers on an allotment plot near Hanover, where Madeleine McCann's investigation into the disappearance continues today

A police car in front of the property near Hanover, in which authorities from the Braunschweig public prosecutor and the federal police have investigated today

A police car in front of the property near Hanover, in which authorities from the Braunschweig public prosecutor and the federal police have investigated today

Madeleine was missing on May 3, 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday, in her family's apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz when her parents dined with friends in a nearby tapas bar.

Despite a major international manhunt, no trace of her was found, and no one was charged with her disappearance.

In September 2007, Gerry and Kate McCann were questioned by the police as formal suspects. The following July, the Portuguese police closed their investigation into the lack of evidence and released the McCanns from involvement.

The British government has continued to fund Scotland Yard's investigation despite growing doubts as to whether the case could ever be resolved.

McCanns' lawyer, Rogerio Alves, said the police had 22 months to settle the case due to a 15-year statute of limitations in Portugal.

To McCann: The hunt for the main suspect at ITV said Alves: “We have a time barrier of 15 years, even for homicide, murder, certain sex offenses – and even for the most serious type of kidnapping.

“So we're still on time. But now time is running out. & # 39;

Kate and Gerry McCann (pictured together) discovered that their daughter Madeleine was missing in Praia da Luz in May 2007

Kate and Gerry McCann (pictured together) discovered that their daughter Madeleine was missing in Praia da Luz in May 2007

Brueckner's name has also been mentioned in connection with other missing children, some of whom have disappeared in similar circumstances to Madeleine.

In one case, five-year-old Inga Gehricke disappeared from a forest in Saxony-Anhalt in 2015 and the public prosecutor's office confirmed that she was examining possible connections to the McCann case, while Brueckner is currently not a suspect.

He was reported to have property in the town of Neuwegersleben, about 60 miles southwest of Stendal, when Inga was missing.

The Dutch police have also prepared a dossier for the German police to look for a possible connection with the disappearance of seven-year-old Jair Soares in 2005.

Jair was missing when he bought chips on August 4, 1995 near the town of Monster in the province of South Holland.

A police spokesman in The Hague confirmed that after announcing their intention to share information, they were now introduced to the case and "in conversation".

He said, "The presentation of the case means that we are checking whether there are similarities between the cases. So we're looking for clues that link them. & # 39;

How the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann developed over 13 years

2007

May 3rd: Gerry and Kate McCann let their three children, including Maddie, sleep in their hotel apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, while eating with friends in a nearby restaurant. When they come back, they find Maddie missing in her bed

May 4th: A friend of the McCanns reports that he saw a man who carried a child away at night. Meanwhile, airports and borders are put on alert as soon as the search begins

May 14: Robert Murat, a developer who lives only a few meters from the hotel, is suspected by the Portuguese police

30th May: The McCanns meet the Pope in Rome to draw global attention to the quest

August 11th: The Portuguese police confirm for the first time in the investigation that Maddie may be dead.

7th of September: The Spanish police force the official McCanns suspects to disappear. The family flies back to England two days later

2008

21 July: Spanish police remove McCanns and Mr. Mural as official suspects as the case is put on hold

2009

1st of May: A computer-generated image of what Maddie might look like two years after she disappeared is released by the McCanns

2011

12th of May: A review of the disappearance is initiated by Scotland Yard at the request of the then Home Secretary, Theresa May

2012

April 25th: After a year of reviewing the case, Scotland Yard announces that they believe Maddie may be alive and asks the Portuguese police to reopen the case, but it falls on deaf ears as "no new evidence" available ".

Kate and Gerry McCann celebrate the fourth anniversary of their daughter Madeleine's disappearance with the publication of the book her mother wrote in 2011

Kate and Gerry McCann celebrate the fourth anniversary of their daughter Madeleine's disappearance with the publication of the book her mother wrote in 2011

2013

July 4th: Scotland Yard opens new investigation and claims to have identified 38 "people of interest"

October 24th: The Portuguese police open a review of the investigation and discover new lines of investigation that force them to reopen the case

2014

January 29th: British officers arrive in Portugal for a detailed investigation. Several locations are searched throughout the year, including a scrubland near the resort

2015

28th of October: British police announce that the team investigating Maddie's disappearance has been reduced from 29 officers to just four after the investigation turns out to have cost £ 10m

2016

3rd of April: Operation Grange receives an additional £ 95,000 from Theresa May to keep the investigation alive for another six months

2017

March 11: Cash is used again to keep the investigation alive. £ 85,000 is granted to run until September before being extended again until April next year

2018

27th of March: The Home Office announces that it has provided additional funds for Operation Grange. The new fund is believed to be £ 150,000

September 11: Parents fear that the police will hunt after the daughter's disappearance and that the new interior minister could postpone her within three weeks due to funding cuts

September 26th: New hope in finding Madeleine McCann when it turns out the Home Office is considering spending more money on the police to find them

2019

April: The controversial new Netflix documentary, which re-examines Maddie's kidnapping, is released, triggering a flood of online abuse against Kate and Gerry by heartless trolls. The couple, who refused to take part in the eight-hour series, struck because it may interfere with the search for their daughter during an active police hunt

June 5: The Ministry of the Interior provides the city police with sufficient funds to start further investigations

June 22: Detectives say they are "closer than ever" to solving the disappearance when they investigate a new suspect. A joint effort by the British and Portuguese police was limited to a "foreign" man who was in the Algarve when she was missing in 2007

December 7th: Paulo Pereira Cristovao, a longtime critic of Maddie's parents, who angered her with a controversial book about the disappearance of puzzles, was convicted of involvement in planning two violent property break-ins in Lisbon and the nearby resort of Cascais. He has been detained for seven and a half years

11th December: Maddie & # 39; s revealed a touching list of what they miss most about their daughter when they spent their 13th Christmas without her

2020

February 22: The Scotland Yard detectives asked a British expat about their German ex-boyfriend. Carol Hickman, 59, claims the police entered their bar in Praia da Luz, Portugal, to ask questions about their former partner

27th of March: Detectives asked for additional money to continue their investigation into the disappearance of the small child in Portugal in 2007. The funds for the operation should be used up by the end of the month

3rd of June: Police announce that a 43-year-old German prisoner has been identified as a suspect of Madeleine's disappearance.

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