Maddie cop says subtle ‘new clue’ from police ‘shows they know something’

A former police officers who took part in the original investigation to find Madeleine McCann has said German police “clearly know something” as officers started digging at a reservoir on Tuesday. Officers on Tuesday were digging land near a reservoir close to where Maddie went missing in southern Portugal.

About 20 officers with rakes and other tools spread out in a line and began poking the soil close to the Arade dam about 30 miles from the resort of Praia da Luz, where the three-year-old girl was last seen 16 years ago.

Jim Gamble, speaking hours after the search resumed, said: “I absolutely believe that during my lifetime we will find out what happened to Maddie.”

He told the Mirror statements from German police have been “uncharacteristic” because the language they have used suggests they are certain Maddie is dead.

Mr Gamble told the publication: “From my point of view, the German police clearly know something. They have a level of confidence when they talk about their suspect and Madeleine’s death.”

He continued: “But they have not shared specific reasons with the public as you don’t want to give your suspect any more information than you have to until you’re ready to charge them.”

German officials in 2020 identified Christian Brueckner, who was in the Algarve in 2007, as a suspect in the case. Brueckner has denied any involvement.

He is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Germany for a rape he committed in Portugal in 2005.

Brueckner is under investigation on suspicion of murder in the McCann case but hasn’t been charged. He spent many years in Portugal, including in Praia da Luz, around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

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The reservoir police have been searching was reportedly a favourite spot of Brückner’s.

Mr Gamble said: “It’s really important everyone keeps an open mind. Yes, he’s an excellent suspect. But up until he’s charged people need to be consciously aware that it could be someone else.”

He added that anyone in Portugal at the time of Maddie’s disappearence, or in the vicinity of the reservoir in the days that followed, needed to cast their minds back and ask themselves if they saw anything.

German prosecutors in Braunschweig said in a written statement on Tuesday that “criminal procedural measures are currently taking place in Portugal as part of the investigation into the Madeleine McCann case”.

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They added that “the measures are being implemented by way of mutual legal assistance by the Portuguese prosecution authorities with the support of officers from the Federal Criminal Police Office”.

The statement continued: “More detailed information on the background is not being released at this time for investigative tactical reasons.”

Madeleine’s case has stirred worldwide interest for years with reports of sightings as far away as Australia.

Rewards for finding Madeleine, who would now be 20, reached several million pounds.

British, Portuguese and German police are still trying to piece together what happened on the night Maddie disappeared from her bed in the southern Portuguese resort on May 3, 2007.

She was in the same room as her twin brother and sister, who were two at the time, while her parents had dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.

Referring to the latest searches, Braunschweig prosecutor Christian Wolters said on Tuesday that officials “are investigating there in Portugal on the basis of certain tips”, but he declined to provide further details.

Mr Wolters said the search would “take a little time”. Portuguese officials said that the search would take place over the next few days.

Mr Gamble told the Mirror even if search teams find the “smallest, minuscule fragment of bone” advances in DNA technology will produce an identity.

He said: “You always feel hope when something else breaks, having been involved in the start I am fuelled by hope… hope that something will happen that gives the parents peace that exposes the truth about what happened to Madeleine.”

Maddie’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are not commenting due to the active investigation, according to an email response from the website set up for the search for the child,

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