Madeleine McCann case searched for gun, camcorder


May 25, 2023 | 5:29 pm

Investigators searching a Portuguese reservoir for clues in the 16-year-long mystery from missing Briton to Madeleine McCann were reportedly looking for a gun and camcorder that belonged to the prime suspect.

Search teams from Portugal, the UK and Germany descended on the Algarve’s Barragem do Arade dam on Tuesday after a criminal informant warned prosecutors that the firearm and video device may have been dumped there after being stolen from the home of sex offender Christian Brueckner in 2007, the Daily Mail reported.

Brueckner, 45, was identified last year as a suspect in the disappearance of 3-year-old Madeleine, who disappeared on May 3, 2007 from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, 50 kilometers from the reservoir.

An unidentified prison informant reportedly confirmed earlier claims by German nationals Manfred Seyferth and Helge Busching, who told authorities they took the gun and camcorder from Brueckner’s home in the Algarve the same year Madeleine went missing, reported the Daily Mail.

Madeleine McCann was last seen on May 3, 2007.
metropolitan police

The pair claimed the camcorder had footage of Brueckner torturing and raping an American woman and a 15-year-old girl.

Investigators want to know if the device also has video evidence of Madeleine.

“When the video camera played… it showed a masked man making a sexual assault on a woman and the voice they heard was Brueckner’s,” a source told the news outlet. “Seyferth said a gun was also found and after finding the video camera they panicked, drove off and later threw both items into the lake.”

Search teams began investigating the dam this week.
AFP via Getty Images

“Seyferth has told investigators that the material on the videotape was poor and if this can be found it will be vital to build a case against Brueckner,” the source said.

Brueckner, Sayferth and Busching were believed to have been part of a small criminal group in the Algarve in the mid-2000s, but fell out by the time Madeleine disappeared, the source said, according to the outlet.

News of the searchers’ targets comes a day after another source told The Times that Brueckner visited the site “several days” after Madeleine was allegedly abducted — and that the child may have been alive for two or three days before investigators thought that she had been murdered.

Christian Brueckner is the prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.

Brueckner – identified only as “Christian B.” in court documents due to strict German privacy laws – is in prison for the 2005 rape of an elderly woman in the Algarve.

Last year, a regional court refused to try him for other cases of rape and child sexual abuse because his last address was outside the area’s jurisdiction.

At 5pm on Thursday, local police let the media into an area that officials had searched for three days before being ordered to stand down, the Daily Mail reported.

The armed forces were reportedly looking for a gun and camcorder that may have been dumped at the site.
News Licenses / MEGA

An area of ​​160 square meters was leveled and cleared of grass, with several 60 cm deep holes dug out.

There were also gaps closer to the waterline and the trail near the edge of the dam, the outlet noted.

Black Mercedes vans registered with the BKA – Germany’s national police – were the last to leave the scene.

Gerry and Kate McCann issued a statement earlier this month to mark Madeleine’s 20th birthday.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

While police do not believe they have found anything substantial, sources told the Daily Mail that the dam’s soil will be returned to Germany for analysis.

“Soil samples contain stones, pollen and some other small components that can be transferred during an act. That means that if I find, for example, old shoes that now contain exactly the same components as in the earth, I know that the person was there,” explains forensic biologist Dr. Mark Benecke to RTL.

“If we don’t find anything, we’ll be sure to let you know soon. If there were finds, this probably wouldn’t be possible,” German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters told the Daily Mail.

The police left several holes in the area after the search on Thursday.

After the search was completed, the Portuguese judicial police also issued a statement confirming that the material collected was in German hands and that “protecting the interests of the investigation” was a top priority.

Madeleine McCann’s disappearance has made international headlines for nearly two decades. The toddler, who was born in Leicester, was last seen sleeping in the Praia da Luz flat with her baby twin brothers.

The toddlers’ parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, had left the children alone while they ate nearby. When Kate returned to check on them around 10 p.m., she found a window open and Madeleine gone.

The three-day search collected resources from Portuguese, German and British researchers.
AFP via Getty Images

Shortly after officials announced the search for Arade, Goncalo Amaral, the Portuguese detective who first led the McCann investigation, condemned the attempt as an attempt to make Brueckner a “scapegoat.”

“In simple analysis I see there is no new investigation, what is happening is an act of building the profile of a scapegoat and a virtual accusation,” the now-retired Amaral told a local weekly, the Daily Mail reported.

“Little by little, the Germans built up the profile of the suspect as a rapist, pedophile and murderer, collected similar Portuguese cases, accused him, and then the big moment came and they named him to the world.

Brueckner, 45, is currently in prison in Germany for a rape in 2005.

“Basically, they didn’t allow a professional and serious investigation and scapegoated this person as a suspect without any proof or evidence.”

Last fall, Gerry and Kate McCann lost a libel suit against Amaral, who claimed in his 2008 book that the pair were involved in their daughter’s disappearance.

Earlier this month, the McCanns shared a heartbreaking tribute to what would have been Madeleine’s 20th birthday.

“Happy Birthday Madeleine! We love you and we are waiting for you. We never give up,” they wrote on Facebook.

Gerry and Kate McCann had put their children to sleep in a holiday apartment when Madeleine was reportedly kidnapped.

Soil samples from the site are reportedly being brought to Germany.
News Licenses / MEGA

“She’s still missing, still missing and we’ll never give up trying to find her.”

Just days earlier, Madeleine’s younger sister, Amelie, now 18, made her first public appearance at a vigil marking the 16th anniversary of her disappearance.

“It’s nice that everyone is here together, but it’s a sad event,” Amelie told The Mirror.

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