Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Search continues for missing April

April Jones, five, went missing in Machynlleth, mid Wales, on Monday evening (Dyfed-Powys Police/PA)
April Jones, five, went missing in Machynlleth, mid Wales, on Monday evening (Dyfed-Powys Police/PA)
Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan holding up a photo of Mark Bridger who has been arrested during the probe into the abduction of April Jones
April Jones's mother Coral during a press conference in Aberystwyth where she appealed for a safe return of her daughter

Schoolgirl April Jones remains missing despite a third night of extensive police searches and a desperate plea from the five-year-old's distraught mother.

Detectives are continuing to question abduction suspect Mark Bridger about the youngster's disappearance after they were granted a 12-hour custody extension on Wednesday night. The 46-year-old, was arrested by officers on Tuesday after cerebral palsy-sufferer April vanished near her home in the mid-Wales town of Machynlleth the night before.

Mr Bridger has been interviewed on at least two occasions and police will have to decide whether to apply to a court for a warrant of further detention when his custody time limit expires.

He was picked up by officers while on foot - with police later confirming he was wearing camouflage-style clothing and that his blue L Reg Land Rover had been retrieved from a repair garage in Machynlleth.

More than 220 police officers and mountain rescue personnel have joined the operation to find April, who is reportedly supposed to take daily medication for her health problems.

Search teams have been combing Powys's rugged terrain since she was seen being lured into a vehicle on Monday evening and officers have vowed to leave no stone unturned as they scour the area around the market town.

Superintendent Ian John, of Dyfed Powys Police, said the scale of the investigation was "unprecedented", adding: "We've got over 100 mountain rescue experts, 100 police-trained search officers, 20 dog-handlers, two vessels to search the river, a team of kayakers, as well as the Dyfed Powys Police marine unit."

April's mother on Wednesday begged for help in finding her daughter as she made an emotional public appeal. Coral Jones sobbed as she spoke about her daughter, saying: "There must be someone out there who knows where she is and can help the police find her. We are desperate for any news. April is only five years old. Please, please, help find her."

The five-year-old's godmother Mair Raftree told ITV: "What Coral has asked everybody to do is, if they can, either put one on front doors, gates, or to wear a pink ribbon, because obviously that's a favourite colour for April." Breaking down, she added: "Just anybody, please, wear a pink ribbon."

The Ministry of Defence later said that contrary to reports Bridger had not been a soldier. A spokesman said: "Mark Bridger has never been a member of the armed forces."

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