Key dates in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Police ready to resume search of Maddie McCann at a Portuguese dam

LONDON (Reuters) -Three-year-old Madeleine McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire in central England, disappeared on May 3, 2007 during a holiday with her parents in the Algarve region of southern Portugal.

Sixteen years on, Portuguese police on Tuesday started searching a reservoir inland from where she disappeared.

Here is a chronology of developments.


May 3 - Madeleine goes missing from her bedroom between 9.30 p.m. and 10 p.m. while her parents Kate and Gerry are dining with friends just 100 yards away at a resort in Praia da Luz. A window and shutter are open and she is presumed to have been abducted.

May 4 - McCann family members and British media criticise local police for what they call a slow initial response, failure to notify ports and borders in time, and failure to secure the crime scene.

May 5 - Police say they have put together a sketch of a suspect and confirm they believe Madeleine is still alive and being held within three miles of the crime scene.

May 8 - Police say they have investigated 350 suspicious incidents but still have no idea where she might be.

May 10 - The search around the resort winds down.

May 11 - Former England soccer captain David Beckham makes a televised appeal for information.

May 13 - Billionaire Richard Branson, author J.K. Rowling and footballer Wayne Rooney are among those to have contributed to rewards totalling 2.5 million pounds.

May 14 - Police search a villa just up the road from where Madeleine was snatched and take a British man, Robert Murat, to a police station for questioning. He is later released.

June - The McCanns travel to Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Morocco to appeal to the public to help search for their daughter.

September - Kate and Gerry McCann are questioned by Portuguese police. They are both named as suspects, but police do not bring charges against them. The couple then fly back to Britain with their twins Sean and Amelie. In a brief statement after landing, Gerry says: "We have played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter Madeleine."


March - McCanns accept 550,000 pounds of libel damages from the Daily Express and Daily Star papers over allegations it made that they were involved in her death.

July - Portuguese authorities end their investigation and say the McCanns and Murat are no longer suspects. Murat wins libel damages from 11 papers who had said he was involved.

October - Friends who were with the McCanns when Madeleine vanished - known as the "Tapas 7" - win 375,000 pounds in libel damages from the Daily Express and Daily Star over allegations they lied about her disappearance.


March - The McCanns launch a new appeal for information in the Algarve.

May - The McCanns publicise the ongoing search for their daughter with an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's U.S. chat show.


May - British Prime Minister David Cameron asks London's Metropolitan Police to investigate the case.


April - British police say Madeleine could still be alive and release an artist's impression of what she may look like.


June - Britain agrees to fund a full-scale police investigation.

October - Police release e-fits as part of an appeal to find a suspect who officers say is of "vital importance". Portuguese police reopen their investigation.


June - Police search scrubland near to Praia da Luz.


April - A Portuguese court orders a Portuguese investigator Goncalo Amaral to pay the McCanns damages for allegations he made in a book about Madeleine's disappearance.

July - Australian police test the remains of a girl found in a suitcase but they are not Madeleine's.

October - British police cut the number of officers involved in the search from 29 to four.


March - Netflix releases an eight-part series about the disappearance of Madeleine.


June - German police say they have a new suspect and appeal for information about a German man currently imprisoned in Germany for sexual assault offences. Convicted child abuser and drug trader Christian Brueckner was likely responsible for her disappearance, they say. A German prosecutor says that Madeleine is assumed to be dead.

July - Portuguese authorities explore three disused wells but find no evidence of a body. German police search an allotment near Hanover.


April - Portuguese prosecutors formally identify Brueckner as a suspect in the disappearance. It is the first time they have named one since Kate and Gerry McCann were named in 2007.

May - New evidence has been found, potentially incriminating the key suspect in Madeleine's disappearance, said the German prosecutor investigating the case.


May - Portuguese authorities assisted by German police on Tuesday 23 May begin searching a reservoir near the area where Madeleine went missing.

(Reporting by Sarah YoungEditing by Alexandra Hudson)