Madeleine McCann case searched for gun, camcorder


Investigators who scoured a Portuguese reservoir for clues in the 16-year mystery of missing British tot 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 Barragem do Arade dam in Algarve on Tuesday after a criminal informant alerted prosecutors the firearm and video device may have been dumped there after they were 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 vanished May 3, 2007, from her family’s Praia da Luz vacation apartment 30 miles from the reservoir.

An unidentified jailhouse 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 Algarve home the same year Madeleine went missing, the Daily Mail reported.

Madeleine McCann was last seen on May 3, 2007.
Metropolitan Police

The pair alleged 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 was played…it showed a masked man carrying out a sex attack 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 that after finding the video camera they panicked, drove off and later threw both items in the lake.”

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

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

Brueckner, Sayferth, and Busching were allegedly part of a petty criminal group in Algarve through the mid-2000s, but fell out by the time Madeleine disappeared, the source said, the outlet reported.

News of the searchers’ goals comes a day after another source told The Times Brueckner visited the site “some days” after Madeleine was allegedly kidnapped — and that the child may have been alive for two or three days before investigators believe she was killed.

Christian Brueckner is the main suspect in Madeleine’s disappearence.

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

Last year, a regional court declined to try him on other counts of rape and child sex abuse because his last address was outside the area’s jurisdiction.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, local police allowed media into an area officials had searched for three days before being ordered to stand down, the Daily Mail reported.

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

A 160-square-foot area was flattened and cleared of grass, with several 2-foot-deep holes dug out.

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

Black Mercedes vans registered to the BKA — the German 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

Although police are not believed to have found anything substantive, sources told the Daily Mail the soil from the dam will be taken back to Germany for analysis.

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

“If we don’t find anything, we will certainly tell you quickly. If there were any finds, this would probably not be possible,” German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters told the Daily Mail.

Police left multiple holes in the area after the search ended Thursday.

After the search concluded, the Portuguese Judicial Police also issued a statement confirming the collected material was in German hands, and that “safeguarding 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 infant twin siblings.

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

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

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

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

“Little by little, the Germans built up the suspect’s profile as a rapist, pedophile and murderer, gathering similar Portuguese cases, accusing him of them, and then the great moment came and they named him to the world.

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

“In conclusion, they did not allow a professional and serious investigation and made this individual a scapegoat as a suspect without any evidence or proof.”

Last fall, Gerry and Kate McCann lost a libel case against Amaral, who claimed in his 2008 book the couple was involved in their daughter’s disappearance.

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

“Happy birthday Madeleine! We love you and we’re waiting for you. We’re never going to give up,” they wrote on Facebook.

Gerry and Kate McCann had left their children sleeping in a vacation apartment when Madeleine was allegedly kidnapped.

Soil samples from the site are reportedly being taken to Germany.
News Licensing / MEGA

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

Just a few days earlier, Madeleine’s younger sister, Amelie, now 18, appeared publicly for the first time at a vigil to mark the 16th anniversary of her disappearance.

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

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2023-05-25 21:29:00