April hunt spurred on by pink ribbons

Search teams hunting for missing April Jones have been spurred on by pink ribbons of hope donned by hundreds in the community.

April hunt spurred on by pink ribbons

Expert teams have continued to comb areas of thick forest in the mountains. As the urgent race against time entered its fourth night, police chiefs spoke of the “humbling” wave of support for their efforts.

More than 2,500 calls with information have been received by police in response to their appeal on Wednesday.

Residents across the small mid-Wales town of Machynlleth donned pink ribbons yesterday in a symbolic gesture of continued hope.

The show of solidarity came in response to a plea from April’s mother, Coral Jones, to wear ribbons of pink, her daughter’s favourite colour.

As the family’s nightmare continues, residents decorated their cars, homes and clothes with the ribbons.

“It is a symbol of the hope that April is going to come back and we are all still optimistic,” said Machynlleth mayor Gareth Jones.

Superintendent Ian John, of Dyfed Powys Police, wore a pink ribbon in a personal show of solidarity.

He said officers from across England and Wales are helping to field calls and searchers are “determined” to find April.

Speaking outside the town’s leisure centre, which has become a focal point in co-ordinating local search efforts, Mr John said: “I want to turn to April’s family. I’m sure we all are feeling for them at this terrible time, also the friends and the extended family.

“I just want to remind everybody that’s why we’re here tonight, in the pouring rain in Machynlleth, is to focus on the search and do everything that we can to bring this operation to a conclusion.”

He added: “I think what we’ve got to hold onto is that we continue our search, and the good news is that everybody is determined to follow this through.”

The community is desperately awaiting a breakthrough in the search efforts. But the overwhelming effect of April’s abduction has left residents on the edge of despair.

Suspect Mark Bridger, 46, of Machynlleth, remains in custody and is still being questioned at Aberystwyth police station.

Officers have been given extra time to hold him but have to either charge or release him by 5pm today.

They are still desperate to piece together his movements from 5pm on Monday until his arrest at 3.30pm on Tuesday.

April was seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

Mr Bridger drives a Land Rover Discovery which was seized from a local repair garage on Tuesday and fast-tracked for forensic examination.

Expert search efforts yesterday focused on a small farmhouse in the nearby village of Ceinws where he was known to be most recently living.

Search teams began lifting up paving slabs outside the property while activity continued inside. Teams also spent all day yesterday searching along the fast-moving River Dyfi.

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