UK

Gaia Pope's Mother Says She Is 'Holding On To Hope' As Search Continues For Teenager

The 19-year-old has been missing since 7 November.

18/11/2017 09:26 GMT | Updated 18/11/2017 15:19 GMT

The mother of missing teenager Gaia Pope has said she is “holding on to hope” after clothing believed to belong to her daughter was found on open land outside Swanage.

The case is now being treated as a murder inquiry.

The Press Association reported that, writing in the Find Gaia Facebook group, Natasha Pope said: “I believe in this community and I believe miracles can happen.

Dorset Police
Gaia Pope vanished on the afternoon of 7 November

“I am holding on to hope, along with Gaia’s sisters and the whole family who are my strength. Please hold on with us.”

Police have said clothing discovered on Thursday on open land north of Swanage appeared to be Pope’s and matched what she was wearing when she was last seen.

She was last seen wearing a red checked shirt with white buttons, grey and white woven leggings and white trainers.

The discovery was made by a member of the public in an area of open land north of the coastal path.

PA Wire/PA Images
Police search open space above the coast near Swanage

The 19-year-old, who has epilepsy and did not leave with her medication, vanished on the afternoon of 7 November.

On Friday night, volunteers were out with torches scouring acres of the Dorset countryside in an effort to find the 19-year-old.

So far, three people have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

A 49-year-old man named locally as Paul Elsey was released under investigation on Friday afternoon.

A 71-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man were released under investigation on suspicion of murder on Tuesday following their arrest the previous day.

Addressing members of the public who had gathered at Durlston Country Park to help search, Gaia’s father, Richard Sutherland, said: “I just want to say a massive thank you for coming out. It is very heart warming and the support gives us a lot of hope.”

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 14:108. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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