Madeleine McCann’s parents could face ‘months’ of waiting for DNA and forensic results of materials recovered from an intense three-day search for clues about their missing daughter by detectives in Portugal.

Huge piles of dirt and broken rocks were left next to a 160-square-foot area near the shores of the Barragem do Arade reservoir, where officials had searched the area for new evidence.

portuguese newspaper Mail of Manha reported that a ‘relevant clue’ had been uncovered during the operation on Thursday (May 25) which led police to focus their efforts on one particular area.

Police confirmed the search ended on Thursday and said the materials had been sent to Germany for analysis. Conflicting reports have emerged on the timeline of the test results, with some saying days, but the Telegraph reported that it could take weeks or months.

German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters said in a statement that as soon as significant findings were made, the information would be released. A large part of Barragem do Arade was cordoned off Tuesday morning, about 30 miles from where three-year-old Madeleine disappeared in 2007.

The operation was carried out at the request of German investigators who believe their main suspect, convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 45, kidnapped and murdered the young man.

He is in prison in Germany for the rape of a woman in Praia da Luz in 2005, and is suspected of more rapes and sexual abuse of minors committed in the area between 2000 and 2017.

Mail Online reported that he had been searching for a gun and video camera stolen from Brueckner’s home. Police were given the go-ahead to search the area after German prosecutors received “certain leads” about the case.

German authorities have not revealed what triggered the latest search operation, but Braunschweig city prosecutor Christian Wolters said they were acting on “certain leads”.

He told German public broadcaster NDR that the new information did not come from the suspect and that they did not have a confession or “any indication from the suspect where it would make sense to look.”

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The Sun reported that investigators previously found photos and videos of Brueckner at the reservoir. He has reportedly denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance.

Madeleine was three years old when she disappeared while on vacation with her parents in Praia da Luz, after she and her younger twin brothers were left sleeping in their apartment while they went out to dinner with friends.

Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia previously claimed he had been told by criminal contacts Madeleine’s body was in the reservoir, and in 2008 raised funds for failed private searches of the water.

British Metropolitan Police officers were also present while the work was carried out to inform Madeleine’s parents of any developments.

The Portuguese newspaper Expresso said the first day ended without significant results and that the police had collected some items, including cloth and clothing.

Madeleine’s disappearance has attracted enormous media attention since she went missing, with reporters staying a mile away from where the search activity is taking place.

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