The twin sister of Gaia Pope has said she is “heartbroken” at the loss of her “beautiful twin” after police said they were “confident” they had found the missing teenager’s body.
Maya Pope-Sutherland wrote on Facebook: “Can’t find any words right now. Gaia is my everything and I am heartbroken. I thank everyone who was involved in searching for my beautiful twin. Going to make her so proud.”
The message appeared above a picture of her sister, with the message: “R.I.P Gaia”.
The twins’ cousin, Marienna Pope-Weidemann, posted a picture of herself with Gaia, 19, on Facebook with the words: “My beautiful baby girl, so sunny and kind but tough as f***.
“We hold you in our hearts forever. Know you are with Nan & Pops now but miss you beyond words. You will have justice. Fly on.”
Police say they are “confident” the body they discovered on Saturday afternoon, which has not been formally identified, is Gaia.
It was located on land near Swanage, close to where her clothes were discovered in a field near cliffs on Thursday.
Gaia, who suffers from epilepsy, was last seen at about 4pm on 7 November in Manor Gardens, Swanage.
On Saturday, her elder sister Clara Pope said: “She is the absolute light of my life. So beautiful, so emotionally wise and intelligent and so passionate and artistic and creative… I will always, always, always be one of three.”
In a statement, Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell said: “Although the body has yet to be formally identified, we are confident that we have found Gaia”, adding that the circumstances behind the death “remain unexplained”.
He said: “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.”
Hundreds of people joined the search for the missing teenager on Saturday, scouring countryside and coastline in Dorset.
A few hours before police announced a body had been found, Gaia’s father Richard Sutherland thanked members of the public who had looked for his daughter at Durlston Country Park.
Mr Sutherland earlier said he feared his daughter’s epilepsy may have played a part in her disappearance as doctors warned her that she was at risk of sudden death from the condition.
Det Supt Kessell thanked the public for their support and said: “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.”
Three people – a 71-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man and a 49-year-old man – were arrested on suspicion of murder but released under investigation.
:: 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.