Arrests made following disappearance of Swanage teenager

13 November 2017
Detectives have arrested two people following the disappearance of Swanage teenager Gaia Pope, with searches ongoing to locate her.

Gaia, 19 and from Langton Matravers, was staying at an address in Swanage when she disappeared on the afternoon of Tuesday 7 November 2017.

Search warrants took place at two addresses in Swanage late this afternoon, Monday 13 November 2017.

A 19-year-old man and a 71-year-old woman, both from the Swanage area, were arrested on suspicion of murder and are currently assisting officers with enquiries. They are both known to Gaia.

The last reported sighting of Gaia was at an address in Manor Gardens on Morrison Road at around 4pm on 7 November. She was said to be wearing a red checked shirt with white buttons, grey and white woven leggings and white trainers.

Senior Investigating Officer Neil Devoto, of Dorset Police's Major Crime Investigation Team, said: "It has been almost a week since Gaia's last confirmed sighting and she has not been seen or heard from since. 

"We have looked through CCTV that covers the Swanage area, including transport hubs, and there is nothing to suggest she has left the area. Her disappearance is completely out of character and, following our extensive enquiries, we sadly now believe that she may have come to harm.

"We have not yet found Gaia and our searches will continue. I would appeal to anyone who has information about her disappearance to please contact Dorset Police.

"Our specially-trained officers have updated Gaia's family and are supporting them at this very difficult time."

Search efforts will continue and have been ongoing since Tuesday in the Swanage area. The search has been supported by the coastguard, NPAS helicopter and volunteers from Dorset Search and Rescue and Wessex 4x4. Members of the local community have also been assisting with searches.

Investigations have also involved CCTV and house-to-house enquiries. Vehicle stop checks took place in the Swanage area on the afternoon of Friday 10 November 2017.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 9:179. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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