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Update on Missing 5 year old April Jones in Machynlleth

Thursday October 4th 2012  11:00

Statement by Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan:

I would like to give you a brief update on progress of the investigation into the abduction of April Jones in Machynlleth.

The suspect Mark Bridger remains in police custody at Aberytsywth Police Station.

He appeared before magistrates this morning when an extension of 36 hours was granted to allow us to further question him.

We have until just before 5pm tomorrow before we either charge, release or apply for a further warrant of detention.

The investigation continues and our focus remains on finding April.

The investigative team will be further interviewing Mark Bridger today. We will be continuing to piece together his movements during the relevant times and looking to overlay what we glean from his interviews, witness accounts and sightings.

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.

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.

In particular we are looking to trace the movements of Mark Bridger between 6.30pm on Monday and 3.30pm on Tuesday and any sightings of him between these times.

In addition, 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.

We also need information regarding the movements of the blue Land Rover Discovery registration L503 MEP between Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon.

Statement by Superintendent Ian John:

We are appreciative of the support from volunteers who we know desperately want to assist in the search to find April, which remains our top priority.

We continue to implement the police led searches in partnership with other police forces from around the UK, which includes nationally recognised search advice, Mountain Rescue, Coastguard and other agencies.

We understand fully why people feel  the need  do something practical to get out and try to find April. We want to ensure that we do all we can to find her, and at the same time do nothing to jeopardise the effort to locate her.

We are consulting the National Police Search Centre to see how we can best use the untrained community volunteers to do this.

We want people to come forward to provide the volunteer search coordinators with their details and what skills and local knowledge they possess.

We have developed a set of questions which we want the coordinators in Machynlleth Leisure Centre to complete and feed to us.  This information will help us make a wider search more effective for us.

I also remind people to look at their immediate environment and search their gardens and outbuildings and let us know if they have any information that can help us locate April.  We can then process this information to help us in our on-going evaluation of our search priorities.

By way of reassurance we have the following specialist resources deployed now:

8 Specialist police search teams directed by 5 POLSA’s

6 Police Dog Handlers

Officers from Dyfed Powys Police Marine Unit

RAF Mountain Rescue Team, coordinating the Mountain Rescue response with Brecon Beacons & Dyfi Valley Mountain Rescue Teams, including 11 Search & Rescue Dogs

The Coastguard Search Team, RNLI

This is undoubtedly a large and complex search operation of it’s kind in recent policing history.

We will continue to do all that we can collectively to find April.

The three key messages for me are:

 Volunteers are welcomed.

  • The police must co-ordinate the search activity to ensure integrity of the search operation.
  • Under Police co-ordination we can use volunteers at the right time, in the right place and utilise appropriate skills. This will maximise opportunities and prevent people attending when there may not be readily available tasks.