Body found in search for missing Gaia Pope

Police searching for missing 19-year-old woman Gaia Pope have found a body.

Officers from Dorset Police say they are “confident” that the body is that of the teenager.

The discovery on land near Swanage was made at about 3pm on Saturday by specialist search teams close to the coastal path and the field where her clothes were found on Thursday.

Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell said: “Although the body has yet to be formally identified, we are confident that we have found Gaia.

“Her family have been informed and are being supported by specially-trained officers. Our thoughts remain with all of her family and friends at this very traumatic time.”

He said the coroner had been notified and that further forensic examination was set to continue, adding that the circumstances behind the death “remain unexplained”.

Members of the public helping the search for Gaia in Durlston Country Park

Image: On Saturday, members of the public helped search for Gaia in Durlston Country Park

The statement comes after hundreds of people joined the search for the missing teenager on Saturday, scouring countryside and coastline in Dorset.

Mr Kessell said: “I would like to thank the community for their support and understanding while this large-scale investigation continues and their efforts in looking for Gaia.

“We have received a huge amount of support from the public who have contacted us with possible sightings of Gaia and items of found clothing.

“I can confirm that we have recovered all the clothing we believe Gaia was wearing when she disappeared and, with thanks, we no longer require the public to assist with searches.”

Gaia, who had severe epilepsy, had been missing for 11 days, and clothes belonging to the 19-year-old were found on Thursday in a field near cliffs.

She was last seen at about 4pm on 7 November in Manor Gardens, Swanage.

:: Officers are asking anyone with information to email [email protected] or by calling 101, quoting incident number 18:128. Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.