After digging for clues for two days, German police digging in the town of Seelze, near New Hanover, have uncovered a secret cellar that lay beneath a “shed” where the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann kidnapping and murder case once lived “off the grid,” the Daily Mail reports.
Christian Brueckner, 43, who is suspected to have been behind Madeleine McCann’s disappearance from her family’s hotel room in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007, left Portugal days after the child’s abduction. He then lived in the Seelze house (or shed) for a short time. The house was subsequently demolished in late 2007 or in 2008, but the demolition left behind the cellar.
Investigators started excavating the site on Tuesday and have relied on ground-penetrating radar to guide their search, as well as on cadaver-sniffing dogs.They have been removing slabs of building materials in their search for evidence that can help them indict the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case. So the discovery of the secret cellar could be a boon for their search.
Wolfgang Kossack, 73, who owns the plot next to Brueckner’s former allotment, told MailOnline that Brueckner had lived off-grid at the site in 2007 and talked about planning his return to southern Europe.It wasn’t until this week that Kossack made the connection between his former neighbor and the McCann case (Brueckner was named the prime suspect in June.)
“I remembered his face from the pictures in the news. And I remember his van and his dogs. I had completely forgotten about him up until then,” he said.Last month, an individual who was once friends with Brueckner reported that the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case one told him that he had a cellar beneath a different home that he wanted to line with metal sheets.
The Sun reports that German investigators have also dug up about 8,000 pieces of potential evidence at a different site: an abandoned box factory that Brueckner once owned in Neuwegersleben, which is about a 90 minute drive from New Hanover.
It is alleged at least some of this disturbing material includes videos and pictures of his suspected crimes – with the files found on hard drives and USB sticks in a plastic bag.Brueckner apparently buried these items along with his dead dog.
Even after the discovery of the cellar, the excavation search will continue for another two days according to German police. This will give them more time to find any evidence connecting the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case to her abduction and murder. Divers have also been searching the River Leine not far from the excavation site.Meanwhile, British police recently questioned an individual who owns a garage and who rented a workspace to Brueckner.
Sky News spoke with Thomas Dressler, who runs a water sports center that is near the search in the river that is itself near the excavation that led investigators to the cellar connected to the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case.
Dressler said: “Yesterday I saw they were doing the investigation and I thought about how young my daughter was at that time, oh God and so close. That gave me the fear and panic of a father. I believe the police are looking for Maddie. It’s gruesome and I find it chilling that it could happen and so close near to us. But of course, I have never seen him myself.”
As for Kossak, he further told the Daily Mail, “Christian Brueckner had the garden next to mine. He arrived in 2007 and left within a year. He told me that he was living off the grid, that he had not registered with the authorities – no one knew he was there.”
The neighbor continued in his recollections about the property connected to the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case: “The building was not really a house, you might call it a shed. But it had a cellar and underneath there would be foundations.”
As investigators search the excavated cellar, the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case is in prison in Kiel, Germany for a drug-trafficking conviction. That sentence will end in six months, at which time he is set to begin a seven-year sentence for raping a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal in 2005.The Express reports that Kossak saw Brueckner as an idle loafer.
“He never did any gardening. He did not plant anything or try to grow anything. He just sat around drinking beer.”