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Body found in search for missing UK teenager

The 19-year-old’s disappearance sparked a wide public campaign and search to try to find her.

Image: Dorset Police

POLICE SEARCHING FOR a missing teenager in the UK have discovered a body.

Gaia Pope had not been seen since she disappeared from the Swanage area of Dorset on the afternoon of Tuesday, 7 November.

The 19-year-old’s disappearance sparked a wide public campaign and search to try to find her.

Police said yesterday that they discovered a body at about 3pm. Specialist teams located the body near the coastal path and a field where items of her clothing were discovered on Thursday.

Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said that police were confident that the body belonged to Gaia.

“Although the body has yet to be formally identified, we are confident that we have found Gaia,” he said.

“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.

Kessell said that the coroner had been notified and further forensic examination would continue.

Gaia Pope missing Gaia Pope's father Richard Sutherland thanks members of the public before a community search at Durlston Country Park in Dorset for the missing teenager. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

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

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.

Kessell said that no more action was needed from the public.

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 in the UK 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.

Read: Searches to take place for man last seen entering the water in Galway

Read: Gardaí appeal for help finding Ciara Farrell (45) last seen in Dublin 4 on Tuesday

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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