POLICE IN WALES have said that the search for missing five-year-old April Jones will continue through the night despite poor weather conditions.
Speaking during this evening’s press briefing, Superintendent Ian John said the weather had “turned against us” and that forecast for tonight is “not good”.
However, extensive searches of the Machynlleth area will continue through the night “regardless”, he said.
John thanked the 400 volunteers who are helping in the search and advised that most had filled out questionnaires so police could determine how best to use them. People with local knowledge were also asked to pinpoint on maps where they lived during the registration process.
He said he had been both overwhelmed and humbled by the public’s support and cooperation over the past four days.
Since an appeal for information was made, over 2,500 calls have been taken by Wales’s 44 police forces.
“We need to analyse this information, process it and make sure we give priority where it is needed and know what we need to follow up.”
John added that “we are all feeling for [April's family] at this terrible time – that’s why we are here tonight in the pouring rain. To do everything we can to bring this search to a conclusion.”
He refused to be drawn on any details about forensics or Mark Bridger, the only suspect being held in relation to the case.
The 16-year-old sister of missing Welsh girl April Jones has said knowing that somebody knows something about the five-year-old’s disappearance is making her “feel even worse”.
Speaking to Sky News reporter Martin Brunt, Jasmine Jones said she feels sick, adding, “I just want our beautiful princess home now. It’s been too long.”
April has been missing since about 7.30pm Monday when she was seen by other children getting into a vehicle near her home in Byrnygog. Following a court hearing this morning, police in Wales were given a further 36 hours to question a man arrested in relation to the suspected abduction.
Mark Bridger, 46, remains in custody at Aberytsywth Police Station where he has been questioned numerous times about April’s disappearance. He was arrested on Tuesday afternoon and detectives then took the unusual move of naming him and releasing his photograph.
They are hoping to be able to trace his movements between 6.30pm Monday and 3.30pm Tuesday. Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan reiterated his appeal for information at a press conference this morning.
Police have until just before 5pm tomorrow before they have to either charge him, release him or apply for a further warrant of detention. However, officers say the main focus is on finding the missing girl.
“While there is a huge visible presence of police officers and search teams, there is also a significant team of officers working around the clock behind the scenes, assisting in developing that picture so we can map out to the best of our ability his movements,” said Bevan.
“This includes a vast amount of forensic analysis taking places which forms a crucial part of the investigation, however forensics alone will not solve this. We need information from the public which may help us find April.
“If anyone had contact with him between these times, we would urge you to come forward. By contact I mean any contact – including face to face, telephone, text or social media.”
He also asked for more information about the movements of the suspect’s blue Land Rover Discovery, registration number L503 MEP, which was recovered from a repair garage on Tuesday afternoon.
Superintendent Ian John said the help of volunteers in the search is greatly appreciated and a consultation has started with the National Police Search Centre to see how untrained community volunteers can be best used.
The focus of the search has been on about 20 sites across the Machynlleth area, including the rented farmhouse of Bridger. Forensic officers have now entered the site at Ceinws and reports suggest that pavement slabs have been dug up at the cottage.
Police officers search outside a house called ‘Mount Pleasant’ in the village of Ceinws, believed to be the last knows residence of Mark Bridger, the suspect in the abduction of April Jones. Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Last night, it was revealed that April suffers from a mild form of cerebral palsy which requires daily medication. Today, Sky News reports that her father has not been able to participate in the search because of a degenerative eye condition.
Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted about the case earlier today, stating that it was every family’s nightmare and urging people to contact police if they had information.
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “As a dad I have thought about little else since the news came through. It’s very difficult to imagine what April’s parents are going through, there’s been a lot of support from the community, it’s absolutely incredible.
So many people have come forward to offer their services but what we need more than anything else is to understand the whereabouts of April.
April’s family have launched a pink ribbon campaign to support the hunt for their daughter and ribbons have been tied around various spots in the village.
Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Police in Wales have stressed that members of the public should not assume that someone else had already contacted them with their information. Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan said: “Even if you feel yours is trivial, please contact us.”
Readers in the UK can call 0300 2000 333 with any information.