Searchers in the Madeleine McCann case have turned up with heavy machinery at a site about 40 miles from the German city where a potential suspect last lived, Sky News reported. Forensic officers are scouring the area.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, in early June, authorities connected the 2007 disappearance of the British preschooler to a possible perpetrator already in prison for an unrelated crime. He has since been identified as a 47-year-old German national and, per the custom of European media not fully revealing criminal suspects' names, is listed only as "Christian B."
On Tuesday, searchers turned up at on a piece of land around 40 miles from the city of Braunschweig, where the suspect was known to have lived around the time Madeleine disappeared. While living part-time in both Portugal and Germany at the time, he purportedly lived in a trailer near the site, worked odd jobs, and possibly sold drugs.
A local Sky News reporter on the scene said that officials had confirmed that the search was connected to the McCann case.
"Since this morning an area of trees has been cleared. Police are there, there are forensic officers there as part of this investigation. A mini excavator is being used to dig the land and there is some activity at least just off the side of the road there," the correspondent said.
According to The Daily Mail, a search dog was sniffing about as well as a man in a forensic suit standing chest-deep in a hole that had been dug at the site.
It is not clear, specifically, what the searchers are looking for. A spokesperson for the local prosecutor's office did confirm, however, that operations in the area were expected to continue into Wednesday.
The suspect is described by BBC News as a career criminal. Due to his criminal record, local authorities are operating under the assumption that Madeleine is dead. Indeed, German officials reportedly believe that Christian B. is likely responsible for the young lady's disappearance and presumed death but don't have enough physical evidence to charge him.
British officials, however, are still treating the matter as a missing persons case, citing a lack of evidence that points to her being alive or dead.
Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, suggested that they're holding onto hope that their daughter is still alive.
"We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive, but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace," they said in a statement.