Little April’s sister begs: I just want our beautiful princess home
The distraught sister of missing April Jones has made a heartbreaking plea for the five-year-old’s safe return.
As April's family launched a ‘pink ribbon’ campaign to help sustain awareness of the search, her sister described her anguish at the prospect that someone might know something that could lead to her safe return but was not prepared to come forward.
“I just want our beautiful princess home now,” said Jasmine Jones (16).
“It's been too long. Knowing someone knows something but won't say it makes me feel even worse.”
All 44 police forces in England and Wales are now helping in the hunt for April, it has emerged, as officers and search teams continued their efforts through driving rain in Machynlleth last night.
Detectives, who have until 5pm today to question Mark Bridger (below) the man suspected of abducting her, have received more than 2,500 calls from the public.
The information was being processed last night by forces around the country, which offered help through the national Child Alert line.
Superintendent Ian John of Dyfed Powys Police said that the deteriorating weather would not stop the effort to find the youngster, who suffers from cerebral palsy and needs daily medicine.
“I just want to remind everybody that's why we're here tonight, in the pouring rain in Machynlleth, to focus on the search and do everything that we can to bring this operation to a conclusion,” he said.
Mr John thanked volunteers who had come from all over the country to contribute to the vast effort to find April. Four hundred volunteers have now joined eight specialist police teams under the command of five national search experts. The scale of the hunt was described by senior officers as “unprecedented in modern policing history”.
Det Supt Reg Bevan, who is leading the inquiry, repeated calls for anyone who had been in contact with Mr Bridger between April's disappearance on Monday evening and his arrest on Tuesday afternoon — either face-to-face, by text, phone or social media — to come forward. As well as questioning Mr Bridger, officers were conducting house-to-house inquiries and checking CCTV footage.
But the arrested man's actions remained central to the investigation. Det Supt Bevan said: “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.”
Locals showed their support yesterday for April's family and expressed their hope that she might still be found alive by wearing pink ribbons. Larger ribbons were placed on shops and houses in the small town, which has been under media siege since Monday.
A fund has been established to help the family.
Abduction suspect Mark Bridger remains in custody and is still being questioned at Aberystwyth police station.
Police have until 5pm today to charge him, release him or seek another warrant of detention. Yesterday detectives were granted a further 36 hours by magistrates to continue questioning the 46-year-old about the disappearance of April Jones (right).