A 49 year old man, known to missing Dorset teenager Gaia Pope, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
A cordon remains in place following the discovery of items of women’s clothing in a field near Swanage.
The discovery was made at 10.28am today, Thursday 16 November 2017, by a member of the public in an area of open land north of the coastal path.
The owner of the clothes has not yet been identified, but detectives involved in the search for missing Gaia Pope have informed her family of this discovery.
Gaia, 19 and from Langton Matravers, was staying at an address in Swanage when she disappeared on the afternoon of Tuesday 7 November 2017.
Senior Investigating Officer Neil Devoto, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Following the discovery of these items of clothing, a full and thorough search will now take place in the field and surrounding area. We have seized the clothing and investigations will now be carried out to identify who they belong to.
“We have updated Gaia’s family who continue to be supported by specially-trained officers. Our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time.”
The last confirmed sighting of Gaia was at 3.39pm in the area of Morrison Road. She was wearing grey and white woven leggings and white trainers and a red checked shirt with white buttons.
Since her disappearance searches of the land and coastline in the Swanage and surrounding area have been ongoing involving Dorset Search and Rescue, the coastguard, NPAS helicopter and specialist units from neighbouring police forces.
Neil Devoto added: “We are doing everything possible to try and locate Gaia.
“I would like to renew my appeal to anyone who has information about where Gaia is or what has happened to her to please contact Dorset Police.
“I am also urging anyone who has seen any suspicious activity in the area of Morrison Road and Priests Way since Tuesday 7 November to please contact us.”
On Monday 13 November 2017 search warrants were carried out at two addresses in Swanage and searches there remain ongoing. As part of our investigations, three vehicles have been seized.
A 19-year-old man and a 71-year-old woman, both from the Swanage area, were arrested on suspicion of murder. They are both known to Gaia. Both individuals have been released under investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email [email protected] or by calling 101, quoting incident number 14:108. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.