POLICE in Portugal have begun to search in various locations, some 20 minutes inland from where Maddie McCann was allegedly snatched.
The searches, in a joint operation between the country’s GNR and PJ forces, have so far centred on three wells near the village of Vila do Obispo.
However, while nothing has so far been found the search ‘will be intensified’ over the coming week, a source told the Olive Press.
Said to be focusing on the movements of suspect German Christian Brueckner, police will be checking various addresses he lived at in the Algarve area.
This includes the house, Villa Bianca, in Foral, where the Olive Press revealed a month ago he had lived for a number of years, in particular around the time of the three-year-old’s disappearance.
We revealed how Brueckner had been connected to the disappearance of a troubled German teenager in the village.
He allegedly carried a gun and masqueraded as a ‘private detective’ according to the owner of the house Lia Silva.
At the time he was living with a German woman Nicole Feringer, who was in charge of an operation bringing in and looking after troubled children from Germany.
Feringer, who had two young children of her own, was last night described as ‘Christian’s girlfriend’ on national TV station RTP.
On the hard-hitting Friday at 9 show, her credentials and working history were finally brought under the spotlight.
“Nicole was Brueckner’s partner in crime,” journalist Sandra Felgueiras told the Olive Press today. “Next week I’ll have even more explosive revelations.”
Her father Dieter told the Mail on Sunday last month that Brueckner had bragged about smuggling children in his Winnebago.
He told the former ambulance driver that he could easily hide drugs and children in the 30-foot Tiffin.
His best friend and former cell mate in Portugal Michael Tatschl meanwhile told the Olive Press how he had bought the €40,000 Tiffin to Granada in Spain just weeks after Maddie vanished.
“He came to Orgiva to buy drugs and we couldn’t understand how he had managed to make so much money so quickly,” said the Austrian, who lived as an expat in both the Algarve and Andalucia for many years.
The drifter, who had lived with Brueckner for years in Praia da Luz went to prison with him for eight months in 2006 for stealing fuel from cars.
He revealed how Brueckner was an excellent burglar, had spent a lot of time on the dark web and even discussed snatching children to sell in Morocco.
“He was a very sick and dangerous man and I’m sure he took Maddie,” he told the Olive Press.
On the controversial RTP show last night it was also suggested there may have been some sort of police cover up over his crimes.
Felgueiras also confirmed the link to a former Scotland Yard detective who lived in the village of Foral.
It has already emerged this week that Brueckner was twice extradited from Portugal to Germany for child sex offenses.
He has now also been revealed to have exposed himself to four young children in a park in Messines, near Foral, in 2017.
Inexplicably the case was dropped.
As is often the case in Portugal, police have yet to confirm the new searches.
But it comes after German police reconfirmed last month that they believe Maddie is dead and they would like to conduct ‘more searches’ in Portugal.