Specialist search teams found the body at around 3pm yesterday, Saturday 18 November, near the coastal path and the field where items of her clothing were located two days earlier.
“Although the body has yet to be formally identified, we are confident that we have found Gaia,” said DS Paul Kessell of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team. “Her family have been informed and are being supported by specially-trained officers.”
He added that “the post-mortem examination has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved in her death. The cause of death is undetermined pending toxicology.
“The coroner is involved in the oversight of these examinations but at this time this remains an investigation into an unexplained death.”
He thanked the public volunteers and partner organisations who have supported this inquiry throughout and had been material in locating Gaia, saying, “The area where the body was located is likely to remain cordoned off for some time while forensic examinations and searches are concluded.
“Please can I ask that the public no longer attend to assist with searches and that they remain a safe distance from the location. I reiterate this area is steep and slippery in an exposed area close to sea cliffs. The area is covered in dense undergrowth and gorse and can present a hazard. Only specially-trained search and forensic teams are entering the area, assisted by Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service recovery teams.”
Gaia’s family is issuing their thanks to the Find Gaia volunteer group for all their hard work and unwavering support.
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.
******* UPDATE ******** 20.11.2017
Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell said: “Following the results of the post-mortem examination and other ongoing investigative enquiries, we have concluded that no one else was involved in Gaia’s death.
“As such we have today, Monday 20 November, released from our investigation two men aged 19 and 49 and a 71-year-old woman, all from Swanage, who had been arrested and were assisting with our enquiries.
“I appreciate our enquiries would have caused these individuals stress and anxiety, however we have an obligation in any missing person investigation to explore every possible line of enquiry.
“The public would expect Dorset Police to fully investigate the sudden disappearance of a teenage girl. Our aim was not only to find Gaia but to find out what happened to her.
“Gaia’s family has been informed of this latest development and our thoughts remain with all her family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.”
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