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Parents of missing teenager have 'breaking hearts' as they appeal for help

The parents of missing teenager Kayleigh Haywood have spoken of their heartache after detectives said her disappearance is being treated a murder inquiry.

As police continued to question two men aged 27 and 28 on suspicion of murder, Kayleigh's parents urged members of the public to come forward with information, and said: "We just need to know what has happened to our baby girl."

In a statement issued by Leicestershire Police, Stephanie Haywood and Martin Whitby added: "We have not seen Kayleigh since Friday.

"It is breaking our hearts and we are shedding tear after tear.

"We love Kayleigh so much and without her our family is incomplete. A big part of our lives has gone.

"Her brothers and sisters are constantly asking for her and if anyone knows anything we beg you to come forward."

Kayleigh, 15, was dropped off by her parents in Ibstock, Leicestershire, after being given permission to stay out on Friday night.

Speaking to reporters in Ibstock, Leicestershire Police's head of crime, Detective Chief Superintendent David Sandall, said two men originally detained on suspicion of kidnap had been re-arrested on suspicion of murder.

He also confirmed that Kayleigh's Facebook account was being examined by officers investigating her disappearance, which he described as being totally out of character.

Mr Sandall said: "We are doing inquiries through Facebook to identify any other witnesses or anybody that could help us find Kayleigh.

"Obviously 15-year-olds do contact people within social media. We are aware that she was active on Facebook and those inquiries are still ongoing."

Appealing for sightings of Kayleigh between Saturday afternoon and Monday, he said: "This is an extremely traumatic time for her parents, who are deeply worried as Kayleigh has not made contact.

"As inquiries have been completed we have become increasingly concerned that she may have come to harm and today we have told the family that we are treating her disappearance as a murder inquiry."

Meanwhile, officers widened a large-scale search operation to an area of agricultural land in Belton, around 10 miles away from the teenager's home in Measham.

A mobile phone belonging to Kayleigh has been recovered in Ibstock and undisclosed items of clothing thought to be linked to her have been found in both Ibstock and Diseworth.

Mr Sandall added: "In all the circumstances, we fear the worst and have told her family to prepare themselves that we are now treating her disappearance as a murder inquiry.

"We have a number of active lines of inquiry but we would urge the public to continue calling the dedicated incident room if they have any information which could assist us.

"Officers have been working tirelessly, searching several areas including Sence Valley Forest Park, which is a considerable expanse of land.

"Searches will continue there, and at locations in Belton and Diseworth tomorrow."

Kyle Haywood said he is "terrified" for his sister and that his family is clinging to "hope" that she will be found.

Mr Haywood, 18, broke down as he appealed for the public to help.

He told ITV News: "We just want to know where she is. We just want her home with the family.

"We're just hoping that she can get in touch or anyone that knows where she is or any information at all just to ring the police or to get in touch with us, myself or anybody who can help.

"We've still got some hope left. Hope. That's what is keeping us going."

He urged people to do "anything that may help" when they go out such as looking in bushes and to tell police if they find anything.

Mr Haywood told ITV News: " Like brother and sister we do argue but we're close. The past six months to 12 months we've been tighter than ever and then this happens.

"I'm terrified for her what she's gone through, how she feels now if she's alive. I feel helpless."


From Belfast Telegraph