April search now in hostile terrain03/10/2012 - 20:25:48
The search for missing April Jones continued to widen in hostile terrain tonight as police questioned her suspected abductor for more clues about her whereabouts.
Mark Bridger, 46, has been interviewed twice by officers focussed on any information he may have about where five-year-old April is.
Police said they would not reveal what the former soldier had said to avoid jeopardising the search but stated they are looking into his past to build up a profile.
Meanwhile, the search continued to grow in the area around April’s home town Machynlleth, on the fringes of Snowdonia national park in mid Wales, an area described as a “hostile environment”.
Superintendent Ian John, of Dyfed Powys Police, said the scale of the investigation was “unprecedented”.
He said: “The search operation is continuing to grow and grow at quite a pace.
“We’ve got over 100 mountain rescue experts, 100 police-trained search officers, 20 dog-handlers, two vessels to search the river, a team of kayakers, as well as the Dyfed Powys Police marine unit.”
Three UK experts have also been drafted in to help with the hunt.
Mr John continued: “There are a large number of sites we are looking at.
“They are very varied in nature and the terrain that we are working in and the geography that we are working in is very challenging. It’s been described to me as a hostile environment.
“By that, I mean the ground is quite treacherous and we have had a lot of rain.
“We’ve got a flooded river that we are working around and we are really pulling on the skills of the teams that are there.
“But I’ve been very heartened by the feedback that we are getting.”
One of the areas detectives are searching is a farmhouse where Mr Bridger is believed to have lived recently and specialist teams have also been combing the area along the Dyfi river.
Mr Bridger has young daughters who are known to have played with April in the area where she was snatched, near her home on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives with her mother Coral Jones, 40.
The two girls, believed to be aged seven and 10, live less than 200 yards from April’s home.
Both girls have a step-sister who is the same age as April and who also regularly played with her.
Railway worker Glen Lewis, 50, described the former soldier’s two daughters as “lovely, sweet girls” and said he often saw them playing on the estate.
He said it is well known they are Mr Bridger’s daughters and that his former partner is married and lives on the estate.
He said: “I know Mark vaguely. I think he came to Machynlleth about 15 years ago when the leisure centre opened and he was one of the lifeguards.
“Over the years I have seen him around and I’ve seen his Land Rover Discovery on the estate. He would come here to visit his daughters and would probably take them out in his car. He might have taken April too.
“I knew him as a bit of a ladies man.”
He said another resident on the estate, who he preferred not to name, was also known to have been a former girlfriend.
Mr Bridger’s estranged son, Scott Williams, also revealed tonight that he had joined in the search for April.
Earlier, April’s mother begged for help in finding her daughter as she made an emotional public appeal.
Ms Jones sobbed as she said: “It’s been 36 hours since April was taken from us.
“There must be someone out there who knows where she is and can help the police find her. We are desperate for any news.
“April is only five-years-old. Please, please, help find her.”
After her plea, she broke down in tears, holding her head in her hands, and was comforted by April’s grandfather Dai Smith.
Police took the unusual step of confirming Mr Bridger’s identity as they issued photographs of him and his blue Land Rover Discovery, registration number L503 MEP.
They appealed for information about his movements and the whereabouts of the four-wheel-drive between Monday evening and yesterday afternoon when he was arrested about two miles north of the town, on foot.
April has been missing since around 7pm on Monday when she vanished while playing with friends in the Bryn-y-Gog estate. She was seen to get into a car, believed to be a left-hand drive Land Rover Discovery, apparently of her own free will.
Since then, hundreds of people from the local area and further afield have helped search for the little girl, but police have now urged them to allow specialist teams to take over
more stories like this:
- once per day, no spam.