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Police return to excavate Portugal reservoir in ongoing 16-year search for missing Madeleine McCann

Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, as searches begin as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Personnel at Barragem do Arade reservoir, in the Algave, Portugal, as searches begin as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The area is around 50km from Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing in 2007. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023.Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images
  • Acting on new tips, investigators returned to a Portugal reservoir to search for Madeleine McCann.

  • Police were seen removing bags with unknown contents from the search site, Sky News reported.

  • Madeleine's mysterious disappearance as a toddler has sparked a 16-year international search.

Police on Tuesday returned to the banks of a Portugal reservoir in the 16-year-long search for missing toddler Madeleine McCann.

Madeleine went missing while on vacation from the UK with her parents, sparking an international search to find her — including previous searches at the Barragem do Arade reservoir, in Algarve, Portugal, though no conclusive evidence or human remains have ever been found.

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Now, nearly two decades later, British outlet Sky News reported, police returned to the reservoir and were seen removing bags with unknown contents from the site.

Based on new information, German state prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters told the German TV channel RTL that authorities "have grounds to believe that we could find evidence" in the reservoir," BBC reported.

"They are not tips that come from the accused," BBC reported Wolters said. "But you can imagine that we don't start searching somewhere in Portugal on the off chance, but that there must be a good reason for it.

He added: "We do have one, but I ask for your understanding that I cannot disclose it here at the moment for tactical reasons."

German police are currently leading the investigation, trying to link the case to 45-year-old German national named Christian Brueckner. Sky News reported Brueckner is a convicted sex offender and was present near the Portuguese resort at the same time the McCann family visited.

LAGOS, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 09: A poster and cards are placed on the Church door in Praia da Luz for missing Madeleine McCann August 9, 2007 in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Police continue there investigation in the Algarve village after blood was found in the McCann Apartment. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
A poster and cards are placed on a church door in Praia da Luz for missing Madeleine McCann on August 9, 2007 in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Police continued their investigation in the Algarve village after blood was found in the McCann apartment.Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

He was named a formal suspect in the disappearance by Portuguese police in 2022, per the BBC.

Clarence Mitchell, a spokesman for Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry, told Sky News that the grieving parents "are realistic, they simply want to know what happened to their daughter. That's always been the case, they want whoever is responsible for her disappearance to be brought to justice."

He added: "They do remain hopeful that she could still be found alive. They've never given up on that hope, nor will they until they are presented with any incontrovertible evidence to the contrary."

Mitchell did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Insider