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‘Madeleine body’ search called off 15th June 17:17

Posted by cotojo on June 15, 2007

Police close off an area where investigators searched with sniffer dogs

Portuguese police officers with sniffer dogs carried out a fruitless search for the body of Madeleine McCann on Friday after a tip-off from a Dutch source.

Starting at dawn, they cordoned off an area nine miles from where she was abducted in Praia da Luz.

For several hours, more than 30 Guarda Nacional Repulicana, 20 Policia Judiciara (PJ) and four specialist dogs combed the scrubland. But the search was called off later in the morning and the lead dismissed.

Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa from the PJ said: “The search has been carried out. This clue has been completely checked and the result was negative, so the investigation goes on.”

He said the dogs had not found anything significant and denied claims that officers had dug up land: “If the dogs do not pick up any sign then why would we dig? We would only dig if the dogs found anything relevant on the ground.”

Two police vans and seven unmarked police cars were involved in the search in the tiny village of Arao, north east of Praia da Luz.

Cordons were established on all roads surrounding the search area – a desolate hillside covered in trees and wasteland just north of the main road to Faro.

The formal search was carried out two days after Portuguese police were told about an anonymous letter alleging that Madeleine had been buried under rocks in the area.

The letter, which was accompanied by a map marked with a cross, was sent to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf on Monday.

Publishing the details on Wednesday, it said Madeleine’s body was lying hidden in scrubland just seven metres from the road.

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