Portuguese Police to Renew Search for British Girl Missing Since 2007
The police in Portugal said on Monday that they planned to resume the search for a British child who vanished in the country’s Algarve region in 2007, renewing international attention on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
In a statement, Portugal’s Judicial Police confirmed news media reports about the search, saying it would begin in the next few days. It said that search, which the Portuguese police were coordinating, had been requested by the German authorities and would be carried out in the presence of British officials.
It was unclear why the German authorities requested the search, although they had previously said that they were investigating a German sex offender as a possible suspect.
Although the statement by the Portuguese police did not mention Madeleine by name, and referred only to a British child who disappeared in the Algarve region in 2007, The Associated Press reported that the effort was aimed at finding Madeleine. She was 3 when she vanished on the night of May 3, 2007, while vacationing with her family in the seaside village of Praia da Luz.
A fire official told Reuters that the police were preparing to search near a dam in the southern region of Algarve, about 30 miles from the resort where Madeleine disappeared. Reuters reported that the police had erected blue tents and were closing off roads leading to the dam and that 20 officers had been assigned to the search.
Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said that they had left her and her siblings, 2-year-old twins, in the apartment where they were staying while they ate at a nearby restaurant.
Mr. McCann had returned to check on the children around 9 p.m., and found nothing amiss. But when his wife returned to check on them an hour later, at around 10 p.m., Madeleine was missing.
After the girl’s disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann helped to galvanize an international search effort that included appeals for help from such British celebrities as David Beckham and J.K. Rowling, and promised millions in rewards for information leading to the arrest of her abductor.
In 2020, the German authorities said that they did not expect to find the girl alive after more than a decade of false hopes and empty tips.
The German authorities said were investigating a German sex offender, identified by the German news media only as Christian B., on suspicion of murder in connection with Madeleine’s disappearance. He lived in and around the Algarve region sporadically from 1995 to 2007.
For a time, the Portuguese authorities considered Madeleine’s parents as suspects, but they were formally cleared.