PARIS: Here are the main developments in the case of Madeleine McCann, the British toddler who disappeared 16 years ago in Portugal, where police on Tuesday launched a new search for her.

May 2007: Disappears in Portugal

On May 3, 2007, Madeleine, or Maddie as her parents called her, vanishes from the Praia da Luz resort in the Algarve, southern Portugal.

She was sleeping with her twin two-year-old siblings in the family's holiday apartment while her parents dined with friends in a tapas bar just metres away.

The parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, both doctors, say they found the bedroom window open on their return.

Suspicion falls on international paedophile rings.

Two days later, the neighbouring apartments, gardens and beaches are searched.

On May 16, the parents, frustrated at what they see as slow progress in the case, launch a media campaign to help find their daughter and a fund to help themselves pay for private detectives.

August 2007: Parents accused

On August 8, traces of blood and other forensic evidence are found in the bedroom.

Three days later, Portuguese police acknowledge that Maddie might be dead.

On September 7, the parents are named as formal suspects after being questioned by police following forensic tests on items found in their apartment and rental car.

The head of the investigation Goncalo Amaral accuses them of concealing their daughter's body after her accidental death.

They are released without charge and return to Britain on September 9.

Amaral is fired shortly afterwards after criticising British police helping the investigation.

Portuguese police close their case in July 2008 and clear the parents of any involvement.

Amaral publishes a book in which he reiterates his accusations against the parents.

April 2012: British police intervene

In April 2012, London police publish a photo of Maddie, aged by computer, saying it believes she could still be alive.

But Portuguese authorities say there is not enough new information to justify reopening the probe.

In July 2013, the British police open their own investigation, saying they have serious new leads and are interested in 38 people.

The press in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands publish two sketches of a man seen carrying a blonde child.

October 2013: Probe reopened in Portugal

On October 24, 2013, Portugal reopens the investigation, saying it has new information.

In March the following year, British police say they are hunting a sex offender who had assaulted five young girls after entering their holiday homes in the Algarve.

In June, the British and Portuguese authorities excavate the area where Maddie disappeared but come up with no clues.

In April 2015, Amaral is found guilty of libelling the McCanns and ordered to pay damages but he is later acquitted on appeal.

June 2020: New suspect

In 2020, police in Germany announce that they have a new prime suspect, Christian Brueckner, 43, a repeat child sex offender, who is currently in jail in Germany for robbing and raping an American woman in Praia da Luz.

Two weeks later German prosecutors say they have “concrete evidence” that Maddie is dead.

In April 2022 Brueckner is formally named a suspect.

May 2023: Reservoir searched

At the behest of German authorities, Portuguese police launch a new search of a remote reservoir, nearly 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Praia da Luz, frequented by Brueckner when he lived in Portugal.

A first search of the reservoir in 2008 proved fruitless. - AFP