Hope turns to despair for April searchers
on 06/10/2012 00:00:00
Officers were last night granted a further 24 hours to question the 46-year-old over the five-year-old's disappearance. It means police have until 3.30pm today to quiz him further before they either have to charge or release him.
Officers said efforts to find April would not be scaled back as emergency services, including the Coastguard, RNLI, RAF mountain rescue and 150 members of mountain rescue teams from across the UK continued the hunt.
Residents in the mid-Wales market town of Machynlleth are still hopeful of finding the missing schoolgirl alive, as many wore pink ribbons - the youngster's favourite colour - to symbolise hope. The message was a demonstration of the close-knit community's support for April's family.
April was last seen getting into what is believed to have been a Land Rover Discovery of her own free will near her home on Monday evening. She was playing on the Bryn-y-Gog estate, where she lives, as a treat for receiving a glowing report at school.
Mother Coral Jones, 40, and her husband Paul Jones, 44, had attended the nearby primary school's parents evening less than one hour before. Mark Bridger, 46, who also has children at the school, was there around the same time as a parent, it was revealed yesterday.
His blue left-hand-drive Land Rover Discovery was seized by police after his arrest and is being forensically examined. The arrest for murder signals a change in the chances of finding April, who suffers from cerebral palsy and needs medication, alive.
Mr Bridger was initially arrested on suspicion of abduction on Tuesday, when officers still hoped to find April alive. That hope was contradicted yesterday by the ongoing efforts of an army of professional searchers.
Resources were clearly being focused on a relatively short expanse of the River Dyfi outside the town.
Murder suspect Mr Bridger was arrested two miles north of the town, walking not far from the river and wearing waterproof trousers.
The last place he is known to have been living, a further three miles away in the village of Ceinws, is also close to the Dyfi.
A specialist sonar vessel was brought in yesterday and used on a section of the river spanning both locations.
A team of kayakers was focusing on that section of the river and searchers scoured the river banks.
Others walked in shallower parts of the river, plunging batons into the water as they went.
As the round-the-clock search continued into a fifth consecutive night, police are hoping more information will come through in the next 24 hours.