Search for April Jones continues
Police in Wales tonight said they were “in no way scaling back their operation” in the search for April Jones and remain “completely focused and committed” to finding the five-year-old.
Det Supt Reg Bevan from Dyfed Powys Police said information about arrested man Mark Bridger (46) and his blue Land Rover Discovery remains important, but there are various other leads.
He said they have interviewed Mr Bridger twice and are looking into his past to build up a profile.
Mr Bevan said: “While these are clearly a significant line of inquiry, I must emphasise that there are many other leads that we are actively pursuing in an effort to find April.”
The force has received more than 400 calls since making an appeal for information earlier today and is focusing on 20 scenes including houses, outbuildings, open areas and riverbanks around Machynlleth.
Supt Ian John said the search for April was “continuing to grow and grow at quite a pace”.
“This is a growing operation and in no way are we scaling back our search and we remain completely focused and committed to finding April,” he told reporters.
The force has 100 mountain rescue volunteers, more than 100 police-trained search officers, 20 dog handlers, two boats from the RNLI, a team of kayakers and the force’s marine unit taking part in the search.
Asked what he thought the likelihood is of finding April alive, Mr John said: “Our efforts are completely focused on doing that and we will continue to do that. I don’t want to speculate and put any kind of time limit on that.”
The focus of the interviews with Mr Bridger has been trying to find any information about where April is, Mr Bevan said.
He told reporters: “He has been interviewed twice. Clearly, our focus in those interviews, as it is in this whole inquiry, is to find April. That is primarily what we’ve been discussing with him.
“What I don’t want to do is compromise the investigation or any chance of finding April, so unfortunately I can’t divulge exactly what he’s told us so far.”
Earlier April’s mother Coral Jones begged for help in finding her daughter as she made an emotional public appeal.
Accompanied by April’s grandfather Dai Smith, she 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 Mr 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.
April has been missing since around 7pm on Monday when she disappeared while playing with friends in the Bryn-y-Gog estate. She was seen getting into a vehicle, apparently without a struggle.
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.