Madeleine McCann news: Fabric found in Algarve search ‘could hold key’ to disappearance

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are analysing pieces of fabric which could finally provide a breakthrough in the case.

Several items were recovered from a three-day search near a remote Portuguese reservoir, 31 miles from the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz where the toddler disappeared in 2007.

They include a “relevant clue” according to local police. They refused to expand on what that might be, but it is known officers were searching for the pink pyjamas Madeleine was wearing at the time she vanished.

Gerry and Kate McCann holding up the pyjamas Madeleine was wearing when she disappeared

BBC Crimewatch

In a broadcast appeal shortly after Maddie went missing, Kate McCann, then 38, held up a light-pink pyjama top with capped sleeves and a picture on it of the cartoon character Eeyore, who is curled up with the words “Sleepy Eeyore” written underneath.

She also showed the cameras white cotton pyjama bottoms, covered with small flowers and carrying another Eeyore motif on the right leg.

The pyjamas are identical to those Madeleine was wearing. They have never been found.





Forensic teams finished their search – in which they dug several holes – on Thursday.

The “materials” recovered, including the fabrics, have now been sent to Germany for laboratory analysis.

Madeleine McCann – Crimewatch Appeal and Full Reconstruction

A local police source in Portugal said: “[The search] resulted in the collection of some material that will be subject to the competent expertise.

“The material collected will be handed over to the German authorities.

They added that during the search, a “relevant clue” was found which led to police officers digging holes and clearing undergrowth in one specific area.

The operation was carried out at the request of German investigators who believe their prime suspect, convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 45, kidnapped and murdered the youngster.

He is in prison in Germany for the rape of a woman in Praia da Luz in 2005, and is suspected of further rapes and child sexual abuse committed in the area between 2000 and 2017. Brueckner has denied any involvement.

Madeleine McCann search

The area of wasteland near the Portuguese reservoir where police searched in the Madeleine McCann case

GB News

Earlier this week huge piles of soil and broken rock were left next to the 160 sq ft area close to the banks of the Barragem do Arade, where officers were seen with shovels for a number of hours.

The surrounding woodland showed pathways had been cut by heavy machinery, with large branches lining the routes towards the area of focus.

Madeleine McCann search

Police investigating the disappearance of Maddie dug several holes in a specific area

GB News

The small section of woodland was clearly marked out by officers over the course of their three-day search in Portugal.

The cordon around the site, which had been in place to allow officers to scour the area with rakes, pickaxes and sniffer dogs, has since been lifted.

A few kilometres away from the search, blue tents had been erected for briefings to take place.

German authorities have not revealed what triggered the latest search operation, but the prosecutor for the city of Braunschweig, Christian Wolters, said they were acting on the basis of “certain tips”.

He told German public broadcaster NDR the new information had not come from the suspect and they did not have a confession or “any indication from the suspect of where it would make sense to search”.

It is believed investigators previously found photos and video of Brueckner at the reservoir.

Madeleine was three when she vanished while on holiday with her parents in Praia da Luz, after they left her and her younger twin siblings asleep in their apartment while they went out to dinner with friends.

Madeleine McCann update

The cordon around the search area has now been lifted

GB News

Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia previously claimed that criminal contacts had told him that Madeleine’s body was in the reservoir, and in 2008 he raised funds for unsuccessful private searches of the water.

British officers from the Metropolitan Police were present while the work was carried out this week in order to inform Madeleine’s parents of any news.

The latest developments come as the Home Office granted an extra £110,000 in funding this financial year for the Metropolitan Police to assist with finding Madeleine, down from just over £300,000 last year.

The total funding given to Operation Grange has been just under £13.1 million since 2011.

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