Madeleine McCann Probe Leads to 'Hidden Cellar'

'It's gruesome and I find it chilling'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2020 7:00 PM CDT
Updated Jul 30, 2020 6:38 AM CDT
Madeleine McCann Probe Leads to 'Hidden Cellar'
Germany police officers search with dogs an allotment garden plot in Seelze, near Hannover, Germany, Wednesday, July 29, 2020.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

A site involved in the Madeleine McCann investigation has led authorities to a "hidden cellar," Sky News reports. German police discovered the deep, 50-foot-wide hole in an allotment garden at a holiday chalet in Seelze, roughly 5 miles northwest of Hanover. Little else is known, but police say the suspect—identified by the Guardian as Christian Bruckner, 43—may have taken McCann to the chalet after her 2007 kidnapping in Portugal. "None of us really know the people that stay there," says the manager of a nearby water-sports center. "I believe the police are looking for Maddie. It's gruesome and I find it chilling that it could happen and so close to us."

A neighboring allotment tenant says the cellar was part of the plot "for many years" and remained intact when the attached summer home was razed in 2007; who tore down the house is unclear. A few weeks ago, police also looked through an abandoned factory property in the nearby state of Saxony-Anhalt, where Bruckner may have lived. Thousands of images on thumb drives and video tapes were dug up there, including child pornography. Bruckner is currently serving time for drug trafficking in Germany and has earlier sex-crime convictions, including the rape of a 72-year-old US woman in Praia da Luz, the region of Portugal where McCann disappeared. Bruckner is appealing that sentence and is slated to be released from his current stint in January. (More Madeleine McCann stories.)

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