German police have reported finding a hidden chamber at the former home of a man they suspected of murdering Madeleine McCann, the 3-year-old British girl who when missing in 2007. The garden at the home outside of Hanover in northern Germany was searched evidence of the crime for a third day.
The police employed dogs, ground-penetrating radar and drones to search the area. Heavy equipment was to dig deep under a tent that was erected over the area. The chamber was discovered after authorities dug a hole 47 feet wide in the garden of the secluded residence.
The suspect, Christian Brueckner, a convicted rapist and pedophile, was a German wanderer who was thought to have occupied a camper van at the residence in 2007, not long after Madeleine disappeared from a holiday flat in Portugal. McCann was only 3 years old at the time and went missing from the apartment in the waterfront town of Praia da Luz where her family was on vacation. Brueckner. had spent several years travelling around Portugal and was reportedly in Praia da Luz at the time the girl vanished. Prosecutors had also linked him to a camper van seen in the area around the same time.
Police theorize that Brueckner abducted the girl and brought her along a 24-hour journey back to Germany. But, the search for the girl turned only led to dead ends.
Brueckner has also been suspected of the 1996 killing of Claudia Ruf, 11, whose partially burned body was discovered about 40 miles from the German village of Grevenbroich. She had vanished while walking a neighbor’s dog.
Police investigating the possible involvement of Brueckner in Ruf’s murder, confirmed today that DNA evidence has ruled him out as a suspect in that case.
German authorities have confirmed that the current investigation is related to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, though they would give no further details.
Friedrich Fulscher, defense attorney for Brueckner, says his client will not cooperate with investigators in the case of Madeleine McCann.
In a town 40 miles from the current scene of investigation, authorities were led to a second residence after the woman living there begged them to come search the area for evidence, saying she was “terrified” that there may be evidence of McCann’s disappearance since Brueckner may have lived there. At least one neighbor also claims to have seen Brueckner digging a hole on the grounds.
Police dug several holes and left without stating whether they found anything of significance.