At least five firms of private investigators have been engaged to make enquiries. At the end of May 2007 the McCanns hired Control Risks Group. It was announced on 29 September that tycoon Brian Kennedy was paying for private investigators to search in Morocco. Spanish agency Método 3 were engaged with the enquiries led by Francisco Marco. It was disclosed in January 2008 that Hogan International, headed by Noel Hogan, former Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent, was carrying out a cold case review, in conjunction with Método 3. US-based investigation firm Oakley International was hired for six months in 2008 but it was decided in August not to renew their contract. Brian Kennedy, who underwrites the Fund, thought that their fees of around £500,000 were not value for money. Oakley International owner Kevin Halligen, in November 2009, was being sought by the FBI on an indictment for fraud. Allegations included the suggestion that he failed to pay over to investigators £300,000 that he had received from the McCann fund. Another, unnamed, US organisation was engaged in August 2008, also on a £500,000 six-month contract, to lead the investigation. Método 3 were to continue to follow up information from Spain and Portugal.
Portuguese lawyer Marcos Aragão Correia paid for the Barragem do Arade reservoir, 35 miles (56 km) east of Praia da Luz, to be searched by divers in early February 2008. He claimed to have received intelligence from underworld sources that Madeleine had been killed and dumped in a lake. The initial search was unsuccessful but it resumed in the middle of March, funded by the Sociedade Portuguesa de Engenharia e Construção. Several items were found in the reservoir. Initially discovered were several lengths of cord, some plastic tape and a single white, cotton sock. Then two plastic bags, one containing small bones, were found on 14 March, but the bones were confirmed to be those of a small animal and Correia gave up the search for lack of funds.
Stephen Birch, a South African property developer said, in July 2012, that ground radar scans he had made showed digging, a void and what could be human bones below a gravel driveway in Praia da Luz. The PJ declined to excavate the driveway, a decision that was supported by Kate and Gerry.
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