document.write(''); Hunt for Madeleine McCann begins in no-fly zone after shocking footage leads police to suspect Christian B's 'paradise' lake - Simo Baha

Hunt for Madeleine McCann begins in no-fly zone after shocking footage leads police to suspect Christian B’s ‘paradise’ lake

POLICE cordoned off a remote reservoir this morning as they prepare to comb the area in the first major search for Madeleine McCann in nine years.

The no-fly zone covering the entire deserted site 45 minutes from Praia da Luz, where Maddy disappeared in 2007, which prime suspect Christian B called his “little paradise”, was put in place overnight.

Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007 while on holiday with her family


Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007 while on holiday with her familyCredit: Press Association
Christian B is the prime suspect in Madeleine's disappearance


Christian B is the prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearanceCredit: BILD
Police tents have been set up near the Aradeh dam near Silves


Police tents have been set up near the Aradeh dam near SilvesCredit: SOLARPIX
The search is the first of its kind in Portugal since 2014


The search is the first of its kind in Portugal since 2014Credit: Solarpix

That means the airspace above water and land, where today’s search will be focused, is only open to police drones.

And the roads leading to Arad dam were closed yesterday.

A steel ring around the site means journalists and onlookers are kept more than a mile away from where two white tents have been erected.

Sources close to the investigation say they have evidence that the clearing of trees was where Christian B spent time after parking nearby.

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A local, who asked not to be named but knows the area well, said:

“People wild camp there from time to time, so you’ll find the remains of a fire inside the small stone walls.

“It has old sunbeds and makeshift benches that visitors use to rest on.

“It’s very obscure and very peaceful, but at the same time it has a slightly eerie feel about it.”

Local Portuguese reports, partially confirmed by police sources, claim the searches were requested and authorized after German police received videos and photos of Christian B at the planned dig site.

They are believed to have been found buried in a child abuser’s “secret lair” in a dilapidated factory in the German village of Neuwegersleben, 65 miles southeast of Hanover.

Police raided the site in February 2016 to search for the body of missing five-year-old Inga Gehrike, who went missing during a family outing in Saxony-Anhalt in May 2015 and was nicknamed “German Maddy”.

Reports at the time said German detectives had found more than 8,000 images and videos on USB drives and hard drives filled with child abuse images.

They were said to have been buried under the body of Christian B’s dead dog.

The area being searched today is about 30 miles from the Ocean Club apartment where the three-year-old disappeared while on holiday with parents Kate and Gerry.

Aradeh Dam is only accessible by dirt road and was previously linked to the Maddie case and was raided in 2008.

It was where she disappeared days after a woman handed a baby matching her description to a mystery man.


A well-placed police source said: “Employees of the Policia Judiciaria will be divided into four teams that will focus on the search for land. It will be very meticulous and exhaustive.

“Forget the idea of ​​big trucks and big cars. A lot of the work that’s going to be done here today is going to be done by hand with stock technology.”

The insider said there were no plans to bring in sniffer dogs today and did not comment on local reports that boats with sonar equipment had been combing certain areas of the water.

High-tech equipment used to find human remains buried underground, as well as underwater if necessary, is expected to be used.

No heavy equipment was moved into the area yesterday and council officials were seen taking ‘truck’ wheelbarrows to a lane near the clearing of the hidden entertainment area, suggesting police will dust and dig it up by hand using scythes rather than digging up the soil. : diggers trying to preserve any evidence they found.

Portugal’s Policia Judiciaria force, whose officers are carrying out most of the digging today, confirmed the searches were requested by their German counterparts, the BKA.

The request was made through an international letter of inquiry sent to the Portuguese Attorney General’s Office and forwarded to Portimao prosecutors.

Portuguese officials have not yet said when it was received, but it is believed to have been around two months ago.

Although this week’s operation was initiated by German police, Portuguese detectives are showing they are fully on board with the manpower and logistical support they have provided.

Carlos Farinha, deputy director of the PJ, traveled from Lisbon to the reservoir yesterday to observe the preparations ahead of the start of the search and to meet with German colleagues.

He is believed to have attended a briefing with German police who arrived at the scene at around 6.30pm local time in four vehicles, including three VW passenger cars, and left two hours later.

Today, Algarve PJ chief Fernando Jordão, who is usually based in Faro, and Helena Monteiro, tasked with continuing the Portuguese police “cold case” review from the northern city of Porto, are due to spend time in the search area in another major demonstration. In this week’s operation of the upper hierarchy of the Portuguese forces.

Operational coordination will be in the hands of a yet-to-be-named inspector general.

Scotland Yard representatives will be in the area, described as a “viewing brief”.

The search is expected to last at least two days and beyond if anything relevant is found.

Police officers scan the coastline as they prepare for a search operation


Police officers scan the coastline as they prepare for a search operationCredit: SOLARPIX
Police search remote Algarve reservoir


Police search remote Algarve reservoirCredit: Solarpix

Although divers are expected to take part in the underwater search, local reports claim that around “80 percent” of the search will be on land and the rest underwater.

The reservoir was searched twice in February and March 2008 by divers hired by a Portuguese lawyer.

Marcos Aragao Correa organized the privately funded operation after claiming to have received an “underworld” tip.

He claimed he was told by underworld contacts that Madeleine had been murdered and her body dumped in a reservoir within 48 hours of her disappearance.

A second search turned up two bags containing small bones, after divers had earlier found several lengths of wire, some plastic tape and a white cotton sock.

Portuguese police were alerted after the discovery, but later ruled out the possibility that the bones were human due to their size.

Madeleine’s parents, Jerry and Kate McCann, previously dismissed Correia as a self-promoter and said there was no evidence to suggest any connection between their daughter and the reservoir.

It is believed to have been missing since March 2008 as part of an investigation into her disappearance.

German police have been investigating Christian B for a long time and, despite slow progress, promised just last month that “nothing has changed”.

Christian B’s lawyers have been defiant and have long maintained his innocence.

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The sex offender is known to have been living near Praia da Luz, engaging in petty crimes such as stealing from hotel rooms when Maddy disappeared.

Kate and Gerry are expected to be kept informed of any developments in the new search through Scotland Yard liaison officers.

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