– Body found in missing Gaia Pope search

November 18, 2017

Gaia PopeImage copyright

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Gaia Pope was last seen in Swanage on 7 November

A body has been found in the hunt for missing teenager Gaia Pope.

Dorset Police said they were “confident” that the remains on land near Swanage were those of the 19-year-old, who has been missing for 11 days.

Officers made the discovery at 15:00 GMT near a coastal path and field where items of her clothing were found on Thursday.

In a statement, Gaia’s sister described her as the “light of my life, so beautiful and so creative”.

Clara Pope and Gaia’s cousin, Marienna Pope-Weidemann, thanked people who had joined in the search.

‘Bird has flown’

Ms Pope-Weidemann said: “We are absolutely devastated and unable to put those feelings of loss into words.

“Our little bird has flown, but she will always be with us.”

Three people have previously been arrested on suspicion of murder and released under investigation.

Detectives have detained 71-year-old Rosemary Dinch; her 49-year-old son Paul Elsey; and her 19-year-old nephew, Nathan Elsey – all of whom were known to Miss Pope.

Det Supt Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police, said: “Although the body has yet to be formally identified, we are confident that we have found Gaia.

‘Privacy requested’

“Her family has been informed and are being supported by specially-trained officers. Our thoughts remain with all of her family and friends at this very traumatic time.

“They have requested privacy and that we make no further media releases at this point.”

Image copyright
Matt Cardy/BOOKr Images

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Land close to where the items of clothing were found was searched

Extensive searches took place to locate the teenager, who was last seen at about 16:00 GMT on 7 November in Manor Gardens, Swanage.

An hour earlier she had been captured on CCTV buying an ice cream inside St Michael’s Garage, having been driven there by a relative.

Hundreds of missing person posters were distributed across the county and volunteers helped to scour the town.

Earlier Miss Pope’s father, Richard Sutherland, told search teams their efforts were “heart-warming”.

Forensic tests

Det Supt Kessell, of Dorset Police’s major crime investigation team, said the Dorset coroner had been informed and a post-mortem examination would take place.

He said that forensic examinations would continue.

“This will guide the investigation in respect of the circumstances of the death which at this time remains unexplained,” he said.

He added: “I can confirm that we have recovered all the clothing we believe Gaia was wearing when she disappeared and, with thanks, we no longer require the public to assist with searches.” – All News First!

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