German police end garden search in McCann investigation

Germany police officers search with dogs an allotment garden plot in Seelze, near Hannover, Germany, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Police have begun searching an allotment garden plot, believed to be in connection with the 2007 Portugal disappearance of missing British girl Madeleine McCann. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
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German police investigating the 2007 disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal have ended their search of a garden plot on the outskirts of Hannover, northern Germany, prosecutors said Thursday.

The investigators left Wednesday evening, a spokeswoman for the Braunschweig prosecutor’s office said. She didn’t give any further details on the specific motive for the search or whether police found anything related to their investigation.

Police started started searching the garden on Monday, but prosecutors only said that the activities on the site were connected to their investigation.

Madeleine was 3 at the time of her 2007 disappearance from an apartment while her family vacationed in the seaside town of Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve region.

German authorities said last month they had identified a 43-year-old German citizen as a suspect in the case and are investigating him on suspicion of murder.

The suspect, who is currently in prison in Germany, spent many years in Portugal, including in Praia da Luz around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance, and has two previous convictions for “sexual contact with girls,” authorities have said.

Authorities have not released the suspect’s name, but he has been widely identified by German media as Christian B.

He was last registered living in Germany in the city of Braunschweig, which is about 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Hannover. Between 2013 and 2015, the suspect spent time in both Portugal and Germany. He ran a kiosk in Braunschweig and also lived in Hannover for several years, the German news agency dpa reported.

At the garden plot, investigators chopped off trees, shoveled away the ground, searched the premises with a sniffer dog and removed parts of the foundation of a former cabin from the ground that once stood there, dpa reported. A man on a neighboring plot told the news agency that the garden had not been used for the past two years.