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Police given more time to question suspect over April Jones disappearance

Detectives upgraded the investigation to murder earlier today.

A new image of April released by her parents Coral and Paul today.
A new image of April released by her parents Coral and Paul today.
Image: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire/Press Association Images

POLICE IN WALES have been granted a further 24 hours to question the only suspect in the April Jones’ murder investigation.

Local resident Mark Bridger was arrested on Tuesday afternoon in connection with the 5-year-old’s disappearance but he is now being questioned about her murder. A Welsh court today granted detectives a final extension for his detention this afternoon and police have until about 5pm tomorrow to charge or release him. He remains in custody in Aberystwyth.

The 46-year-old appeared before the court for 25 minutes, entering and leaving the building with a blue blanket over his head.

He was initially arrested on suspicion of abduction but the investigation was upgraded to murder today.

Speaking at the latest press briefing, Superintendent Ian John said that move, taken this morning, “was the right thing to do”. “It is essential for the integrity of the whole operation,” he added.

A lead figure in the inquiry, John said he is “completely overwhelmed” by the support received by local people, as well as those outside the community.

“Only a couple of hours ago two ladies from Newport turned up with bags of food and drink which they had bought with money collected from their community,” he said, citing one example. “All the pink ribbons and the balloons around the town show the impact of this tragic incident on everyone.”

He thanked volunteers who had taken days off work to help in the search, as well as their employers who facilitated the kindness.

John said the focus remains on “finding April and the search continues”.

Eight teams of more than 60 specialist officers are still out searching for signs of the young girl across mid-Wales. They are joined by about 150 members of the Mountain Rescue services, the fire and ambulance services, the Coast Guard, RNLI and RAF.

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Special equipment, including boats with sonar equipment and helicopters with thermal imaging capabilities, have also been deployed.

The search will resume at first light tomorrow.

Police have again appealed for anyone who may have seen Bridger’s blue Land Rover Discovery jeep in recent days to contact them.

Readers in the UK can call 0300 2000 333 with any information.

Earlier: Police now treating April Jones disappearance as murder investigation>

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