Investigators use excavators in Germany in search for clues about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance

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HANNOVER, Germany (AP/CNN) — German police investigating the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal in 2007 were searching a garden plot on the outskirts of Hannover in northern Germany for a third day.

UNSPECIFIED – UNDATED: In this handout photo, relased September 16, 2007 missing child Madeleine McCann smiles. The McCann family have returned from Portugal after local police questioned them on the disappearance of daughter Madeleine, who vanished from their hoiliday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007. Portugal’s public prosecutor is reviewing police papers detailing the Madeleine McCann inquiry. (Photo by Handout/Getty Images)

Police on Wednesday were using excavators, sniffer dogs, shovels, and rakes to investigate the plot, while prosecutors kept silent about what exactly the investigators were looking for.

A spokeswoman for the Braunschweig prosecutor’s office only said Tuesday that the investigation on the site was connected to their investigation regarding Madeleine, who disappeared at age 3 from an apartment while her family was vacationing in Portugal.

In June, prosecutors in Braunschweig told CNN they had evidence that a man jailed for an unrelated crime had killed McCann — but not enough to charge the suspect in court.

That development came after police found a potential link between McCann’s disappearance and that of a five-year-old girl named Inga in Germany in 2015.

It was the first major breakthrough after years of little progress.

The suspect had lived in Portugal’s Algarve region from 1995 to 2007, and also resided in a house in Praia da Luz, the resort town from which McCann disappeared, prosecutors said.

Portuguese authorities continue to investigate McCann’s disappearance, conducting searches in three wells near where the toddler disappeared as recently as July 9, according to witnesses.

A local law enforcement source confirmed to CNN earlier this month that the searches were related to the McCann investigation, but as far as the source knew no new information was discovered.

McCann’s parents thanked the “police forces involved for their continued efforts in the search for Madeleine,” in a statement sent to CNN at the beginning of June.

“All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice. We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace,” they said.

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