The disappearance of 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood is now being treated as a murder investigation, detectives confirmed.
The Leicestershire schoolgirl has not been seen since Friday evening when she was dropped off outside Ibstock Community College in Central Avenue, Ibstock.
Since she was reported missing, police have found Kayleigh’s mobile phone and other items belonging to her. These finds, taken together with other information, have led detectives to believe that Kayleigh has been killed.
Detective Chief Superintendent David Sandall, Head of Crime, said: “We have become increasingly concerned for Kayleigh’s safety as the hours have passed since she was dropped off by her dad on Friday evening. Five days on, we’ve heard nothing from her, and this is completely out of character.
“Since we started looking for her we have found her mobile phone in Melbourne Road, Ibstock and items of clothing which we believe are hers in the Ibstock and Diseworth areas.
“In all the circumstances, we fear the worst and have told her family to prepare themselves that we are now treating her disappearance as a murder enquiry.
“We have searched several locations including Sence Valley Forest Park in the Ibstock area looking for her. This is a considerable expanse of land.
“The park has been cordoned off and is likely to remain so for some days yet while we conduct a thorough search of the area looking for her. A number of other locations are currently being searched, including an area in Belton and Diseworth.
“We have a number of active lines of inquiry but we would urge the public to continue calling the dedicated incident room if they have any information which could assist us. Were you in the Diseworth or Belton areas between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning, did you see anyone or any vehicles acting suspiciously?"
Anyone with information about her disappearance is asked to call 0800 096 1233 or 0207 158 0197.
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder. They remain in police custody.