BERLIN — German police investigating the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal in 2007 searched a garden plot Tuesday in the northern city of Hannover in connection with their probe, prosecutors said.
Julia Meyer, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office in Braunschweig confirmed local media reports that police investigators had been at the site since Monday with an excavator in connection with the case.
Investigators with shovels and rakes could be seen on the plot putting possible evidence into plastic bags. Some were wearing white overalls and others were guiding a sniffer dog across the plot, German news agency dpa reported.
"The procedure is taking place in connection with our investigation regarding Maddie McCann," Meyer told The Associated Press.
Meyer said she could not give any further details on the procedure, adding only that police would "still need some more time to finish."
McCann was 3 at the time of her 2007 disappearance from an apartment while her family vacationed in the seaside town of Praia da Luz in Portugal's Algarve region.
German authorities said last month they had identified a 43-year-old German citizen as a suspect in the McCann case and are investigating him on suspicion of murder.
The suspect, who is currently in prison in Germany, spent many years in Portugal, including in Praia da Luz around the time of McCann's disappearance, and has two previous convictions for "sexual contact with girls," authorities have said.
Authorities have not released the suspect's name, but he has been widely identified by German media as Christian B.
He was last registered living in Germany in the city of Braunschweig, which is about 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Hannover. Between 2013 and 2015, the suspect spent time in both Portugal and Germany. He ran a kiosk in Braunschweig and also lived in Hannover for several years, dpa reported.