No reducing April search - police

Gazette Series: April Jones went missing three weeks ago in Machynlleth, mid-Wales (Dyfed Powys Police/PA) April Jones went missing three weeks ago in Machynlleth, mid-Wales (Dyfed Powys Police/PA)

The massive search for missing April Jones could well continue into Christmas and beyond, police have vowed

Major search efforts to locate the body of the five-year-old schoolgirl are nowhere near being scaled back. As the painstaking search for April entered its third week, police vowed the hunt would go on for months to come.

Superintendent Ian John said he could not rule out the ongoing search for April would extend into 2013.

"We said goodbye to 150 officers this morning and they've been replaced by another 150 specialists," he said, speaking from Machynlleth. "Numbers may fluctuate a bit on a daily basis. But whilst we still have viable lines of inquiry, we will continue to search. We could still be here at Christmas or the new year, we could be finished in two weeks."

April Jones was abducted as she played out with friends on Machynlleth's Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lived, on October 1. April, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was out late on her bike as a treat for getting a glowing school report earlier that day. She was last seen getting into what is believed to have been a Land Rover Discovery.

Local man and former lifeguard Mark Bridger, 46, was arrested the following day and his Land Rover Discovery seized for forensic examination. He was later charged with the murder and abduction of the schoolgirl and perverting the course of justice by disposing of her body.

Sixteen days after April's disappearance and assumed murder, the hunt to retrieve her body and give her family closure goes on.

"There is no scaling down at all," said Superintendent John, who has lead the Dyfed Powys Police search operation.

He said that specialist searches from 16 separate police forces were helping in the ongoing hunt for April.

They were backed up by fire service urban area search and rescue teams, hazardous area search teams and teams from the ambulance service. Mountain rescue teams were brought back in over the weekend as different terrain was encountered and closely searched.

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