Parents of murdered schoolgirl visit garages where police search for body
The parents of murdered schoolgirl Danielle Jones have visited the garages where police believe the teenager's body may have been hidden for the past 16 years.
The 15-year-old was last seen on Monday, June 18, 2001, at about 8am when she left her home in East Tilbury, Essex, to catch the bus to school.
Her uncle Stuart Campbell was convicted of murder in December 2002, but her body has never been found.
Police drove Danielle's parents Linda and Tony to the garages between Goddard Road and Crammavill Street in Stifford Clays in Thurrock, where they stayed for about 20 minutes.
In a statement, her parents said: "We think of Danielle every day and we hope that this latest search may bring us answers about what happened to her 16 years ago."
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Worron, head of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, described the search as a "credible line of inquiry".
It was triggered after a member of the public told police in February this year of "unusual activity" at the site, he said.
Mr Worron said this search could "conclude once and for all" if this is where the youngster's body has been buried, adding that "any search of this kind is significant".
Police said some non-specific information was received in 2001 relating to the garage area but the garages had not been searched. The disappearance of Danielle and subsequent murder investigation was one of the biggest cases that Essex Police have dealt with, involving more than 750 officers and staff. More than 1,000 garages were included in the "huge number" of searches that were carried out in 2001 and 2002, according to Mr Worron.
He said: "I do know that in 2001 that garage block had not been searched by officers.
"This week we will conduct a search of that area to see if that is the location where Danielle's body has been hidden since 2001.
"The reasons why the garage block was not searched aren't clear at the moment, but we are working to understand that."
He could not say how much time would be needed to search the site because it would depend on how detectives "deconstruct and examine" the garages.