Police searching for missing teenager find body

Police searching for missing teenager find body

A body has been found by UK police searching for missing teenager Alice Gross, Scotland Yard has said.

The body was recovered by officers from the River Brent on Tuesday night and has been removed from the scene, the Metropolitan Police said.

In a statement the force said the 14-year-old's family have been updated on the development.

It added: "Formal identification awaits and a post-mortem examination will be scheduled in due course.

"We ask the media give Alice's family and friends the privacy they require at this difficult time."

It is just over a month since Alice failed to return home to her family, sparking a huge search operation which was the Met Police's largest since the 7/7 bombings.

On Monday, the operation moved to the National Trust-owned Osterley Park, in west London, for the first time, which is around two miles from the location of the schoolgirl's last sighting near the Grand Union Canal.

More than 300 officers from over a dozen police forces across the country were involved in the increasingly desperate hunt, which has even called on the assistance of the RAF who helped to identify possible new search sites.

Alice was last captured on CCTV walking along the towpath next to the Grand Union Canal as it passes under Trumpers Way at 4.26pm on August 28, but has not been seen since.

Convicted murderer Arnis Zalkalns, who was filmed cycling the same route behind the teenager, emerged as the prime suspect in her disappearance.

Police are urgently working with the authorities in his native Latvia to track down the labourer, who was reported missing within days of Alice's disappearance.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed the RAF was helping police in the search for Alice.

The search has also included a reconstruction of Alice's last known movements which attracted 150 phone calls from members of the public with possible information.

But an area of disturbed earth at Elthorne Park in west London, which runs beside the canal towpath and was subject to a thorough investigation, was ruled out as no longer of interest.

The girl's mother, Rosalind Hodgkiss, said: "Every morning, as Alice's disappearance grows longer and longer, brings new agony, new anguish."

The force has come under fire for delays in identifying Zalkalns as a risk, and Commander Graham McNulty admitted that British detectives would have no power to arrest him if he has fled abroad.

The general labourer, who worked at a building site in Isleworth, west London, is thought to have come to the UK in 2007, but authorities here have come under fire for apparently holding no record of his conviction for bludgeoning and stabbing his wife Rudite to death in Latvia.

He is described as white, 5ft 10in and stocky, with dark brown hair that he normally wears tied in a ponytail.

The statement from Scotland Yard said: "As part of the operation to find Alice Gross, search teams have last night, Tuesday September 30, found a body in the River Brent.

"Officers have recovered the body from the water. The body has now been removed from the scene.

"Alice's family has been updated of this development."

Mr McNulty will make a statement outside New Scotland Yard later this morning. Police said no further details will be released before the statement.

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