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Gaia Pope: Third person released under investigation

Gaia, 19, was staying in Swanage, Dorset, when she disappeared on November 7.

Gaia Pope, 19, has not been seen since November 7.
Gaia Pope, 19, has not been seen since November 7.

A third person arrested on suspicion of the murder of missing teenager Gaia Pope has been released under investigation, police have revealed.

Gaia, from Langton Matravers, was staying in Swanage, Dorset, when she disappeared on November 7.

The 49-year-old man from Swanage was arrested on Thursday, hours after clothing was found in a field nearby - which the 19-year-old's family say matches what Gaia was wearing the day she went missing.

Two other people, a 19-year-old boy and a 71-year-old woman, were arrested on Monday and also released under investigation.Police say all three are known to Gaia.

In the wake of the development, the teenager's mother Natasha released a statement on Facebook saying she was "holding on to hope".

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Facebook

Det Supt Paul Kessell, from Dorset Police's Major Crime Investigation Team, said detailed forensic searches of fields and open areas in the region were ongoing.

He urged members of the public not to put themselves in danger while attempting to help the search effort.

The community will be aware that this rural area surrounding Purbeck is a wide expanse of challenging ground, much of which is exposed to the elements. In addition, the cliffs along the coast are dangerous and the seas can be unpredictable. While we are grateful to the public's ongoing help, I would like to advise them not to put themselves in danger and to allow the specially-trained experts to cover this area in a controlled manner. Coordinated local volunteers who are in liaison with the police search operation are continuing to assist.
Det Supt Paul Kessell, Dorset Police

"Finally, and most importantly, our thoughts remain with Gaia's family at this extremely distressing and difficult time," he added.

"Specially-trained officers continue to support and update them and their wellbeing is central to our actions."

The last reported sighting of Gaia was at an address in Manor Gardens in Morrison Road, Swanage, at around 4pm on November 7. She was wearing a red checked shirt with white buttons, grey and white woven leggings and white trainers.

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