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Body found in search for missing teenager

Gaia Search 2017 Swanage Coastguard

8:00pm 18th November 2017
(Updated 7:19pm 19th November 2017)

Officers searching for missing teenager Gaia Pope have discovered the body of a woman near Swanage.

The discovery was made at around 3pm today, Saturday 18 November 2017, by specialist search teams near the coastal path and the field where items of her clothing were located on Thursday 16 November.

Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Although the body has yet to be formally identified, we are confident that we have found Gaia. Her family have 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.

“The coroner has been notified and further forensic examination will continue. This will guide the investigation in respect of the circumstances of the death which at this time remains unexplained. 

“I would like to thank the community for their support and understanding while this large-scale investigation continues and their efforts in looking for Gaia.

“We have received a huge amount of support from the public who have contacted us with possible sightings of Gaia and items of found clothing. 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."

Extensive searches have been led by Dorset Police. We have been extensively supported by specialist officers and teams, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, the coastguard, national search advisors, the NPAS helicopter, Dorset Search & Rescue, Wessex 4x4 and the Search & Rescue Dogs Association. Coordinated local volunteers have also assisted in liaison with the police search operation. We would like to thank our partner agencies and volunteers for their support which has led to today’s developments.

Two men aged 19 and 49 and a 71-year-old woman, all from Swanage and known to Gaia, were arrested on suspicion of murder earlier this week and have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 18:128. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
 

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