Murder detectives still quzzing man, 49, over missing UK teenager Gaia Pope

Murder probe detectives in the UK are continuing to question a man believed to be known to missing teenager Gaia Pope over her suspicious disappearance.

The 49-year-old, who has been named locally as Paul Elsey, has been in custody since Thursday afternoon on suspicion of the 19-year-old's murder.

She had not been seen since she vanished from Dorset on the afternoon of November 7.

The suspect - the third to be arrested in the investigation - is said to be from the Swanage area and is assisting Dorset Police with their inquiries.

Earlier police found clothing similar to that worn by Miss Pope when she disappeared, following a tip-off from a member of the public.

The owner of the clothes has not been identified but Miss Pope's family have been informed, police said.

UK Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell has appealed directly to the public to come forward if they have any information or have had any contact with Gaia since she went missing.

Forensic investigations are continuing at two properties in Manor Gardens, which are believed to be the homes of a 71-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man.

They were released under investigation on Tuesday after being arrested on suspicion of murder by police the previous day.

The force released two CCTV images of the teenager taken inside St Michael's Garage in Swanage when she bought an ice cream.

Miss Pope was being driven between Langton Matravers and Swanage by a family member when they stopped off for fuel at around 2.55pm.

The last confirmed sighting of her was at an address in Manor Gardens on Morrison Road in Swanage at about 4pm.

The black jacket she was wearing in the CCTV images was recovered from an address in Manor Gardens. Three vehicles have been seized.

Yesterday, Miss Pope's father, Richard Sutherland, made an emotional appeal to find his daughter and said he just wanted a "big hug" from her.

"I can tell you this that the family is united together in this and we are united with the police and united with the public," Mr Sutherland told ITV News.

"I can't tell you how grateful we are to everybody out there, it's unbelievable."

Earlier this week, the teenager's mother, Natasha Pope, urged people to look in vans, garages and houses in case she was being kept against her will.

Mr Sutherland told ITV's Good Morning Britain that his daughter's epilepsy may have played a part in her disappearance.

"The doctors have said that she is at risk of sudden death from epilepsy, or sudden epileptic death. It's pretty serious," he said.

"One thing we've really tried to do is not to go off down every speculation because that can lead you to 100 different ideas with 100 different variations on everything.

"But it's entirely possible that her epilepsy has played a big part in this and that's meant it's been more difficult to find her."

Miss Pope's cousin, Marienna Pope-Weidemann, said: "Gaia's condition has been really deteriorating over the last six months to a year. She rarely gets through a day without a seizure.

"Sometimes they're very small, she'll break conversation for a minute or so and then she's back to her old bubbly self. Other times they're very serious - we've had to call the paramedics many times.

"Those bigger seizures are often accompanied with quite prolonged periods of confusion and disorientation.

"There's been times when she's not recognised us for a short time afterwards, not really understood where she is. That's a big part of what's made this case so complicated."


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