Portuguese Judicial Police (PJ) criminal investigation unit members leave the base camp set near the Arade dam in Silves on May 25, 2023, after the search operation in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (Maddie) has been declared over. Image Credit: AFP

Silves, Portugal: A German prosecutor played down hopes of an imminent breakthrough in the 16-year-old hunt for missing British girl Madeleine McCann on Thursday, as police wrapped up the search on the shoreline of a reservoir in Portugal and began pulling out.

A source close to the investigation told Reuters there was "nothing to report" after three days of searches. Portuguese police running the command centre, already partially disassembled, declined to comment.

German authorities, who have named a suspect in the case, have been helping Portuguese crews comb the remote area inland from the Algarve coastal resort where McCann - then aged three - went missing during a family holiday in 2007.

"Of course there is a certain expectation, but it is not high," prosecutor Christian Wolters told Reuters. It was important to show that authorities were investigating the case, he added.

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German prosecutors last year named Christian Brueckner an official suspect in McCann's disappearance. The convicted child abuser and drug dealer is behind bars in Germany for raping a 72-year-old woman in the same part of the Algarve.

Brueckner has denied any involvement in the disappearance.

No body has been found.

"Of course we are still looking for the body," Wolters said.

"We're not just looking for that, of course. There are other things too." Any discovery of clothing could help the investigation, he said. "A lot is conceivable." According to Wolters, authorities had yet to call time on the search, but witnesses said British police who assisted their Portuguese and German counterparts at the reservoir had left by early Thursday afternoon and then German investigators packed up their tents at a camp on a hill.

A tractor-mounted tree-cutter deployed earlier has also been removed and Portuguese police started disassembling the command centre's two large blue tents.

Sources said any samples collected would be analysed in Germany.