The hidden area was discovered after multiple days of searching an area linked to suspected McCann abductor Christian Brückner, according to a report from Sky News. The cellar was discovered after investigators dug a deep hole in the garden of a secluded area in the German town of Seelze.
Authorities were seen Thursday carrying out a number of items from the hidden cellar, including forensic evidence bags and a child’s toy bucket, The Daily Beast reported.
Officials confirmed the search is linked to the McCann investigation, but did not provide details on what was the focus of the search.
Christian Brückner, a drifter and convicted sex offender, lived on the property for a time in 2007 — shortly after British toddler McCann had disappeared from a resort in Portugal where she had been vacationing with her parents.
Neighbors told investigators that Brückner spent hours of time in a shed on the property — which was previously located on top of where the cellar was discovered, according to the Daily Beast. The shed itself was torn down years ago.
McCann vanished on May 3, 2007 while on vacation with her family in Portugal’s Praia da Luz just days short of her 4th birthday. The case has reopened and gone cold on multiple occasions with little resolution.
However, the investigation began to gain momentum again when German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters pinpointed Brückner, 43, as a suspect in the case earlier this summer — while also stating that officials believe McCann was murdered shortly after she vanished.
An attorney for Brückner said his client denied any involvement in McCann's disappearance and will not talk with authorities until they provide hard evidence in the case.
McCann's body has not yet been discovered.
For his part, Wolters has said that although authorities believe Brückner is the culprit and that they have "some evidence" that McCann is dead, there is not enough evidence to indict him yet. Officials have been tight-lipped on what evidence they have already obtained.
Brückner remains incarcerated in Germany, and is currently appealing a previous conviction for the rape of an American tourist, The New York Times previously reported.
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