Divers are searching an isolated reservoir in Portugal for missing British toddler Madeleine McCann after a lawyer received a tip her body may have been dumped there, the London Daily Mail reported Monday.
Lawyer Marcos Aragao Correia is funding the nearly $2,400-a-day search of the man-made Barragem do Arade reservoir after underworld contacts told him that's where the body of the missing girl could be found, the paper said.
McCann disappeared a few days before her 4th birthday on May 3, 2007, during a family vacation in Praia da Luz, Portugal.
Correia said contacts told him that the girl was raped, murdered and her body dumped within 48 hours of her disappearance, the Daily Mail reported.
The lawyer said he believed she was killed, weighted down and thrown from a pumping tower into the reservoir, the paper said.
"I am convinced this is the place. It's not overlooked, it has easy access by car and if you threw the body from the tower the water is 55-feet deep there," Correia told the Daily Mail. "The divers have already found a cord tied in knots down there, right below the tower. I have given it to the police."
Six divers found an approximately 5-yard-long piece of nylon cord in their search, the Daily Mail reported.
"It's logic that if you throw a body into the water then you would tie it to something to weigh it down," Correia said.
The news comes as a senior police official said over the weekend that Portuguese investigators acted hastily in naming McCann's parents as suspects in her disappearance.
"There was a certain haste" in naming Kate and Gerry McCann as formal suspects in the case, Alipio Ribeiro, head of the Portuguese police's detective branch, told Radio Renascenca on Sunday.
"Perhaps there should have been a different evaluation. I have no doubt about this," Ribeiro said.
Madeleine's parents, who have run an international campaign to find their daughter, returned to Britain in September, a day after they were named as formal suspects in the case.
Forensic tests conducted at a government laboratory in Britain found evidence that DNA from Madeleine was in the trunk of a rental car the parents used after her disappearance.
But Portuguese police said the tests on the car were not conclusive and that investigations continued. No one has been charged.
The inquiry initially focused on the possibility that Madeleine had been abducted from her hotel room at a resort while her parents were dining at a nearby restaurant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.