Gaia Pope, 19, from Dorset, (pictured) has not been seen for almost a week but her family has told MailOnline that have not given up hope she could be found alive
A 71-year-old woman and her Dunkirk movie extra grandson have been released under investigation after being arrested on suspicion of murdering a teenager who went missing a week ago.
Gaia Pope, 19, vanished a week ago on Tuesday, November 7, after she was spotted on CCTV sprinting along Manor Gardens in Swanage at around 4pm.
Last night police arrested family friend Rosemary Dinch, 71, who was the last person to see Gaia. Mrs Dinch appeared on television describing how the upset teenager ‘pounded’ on her door, saying ‘help me’.
This evening detectives have released Mrs Dinch her 19-year-old grandson Nathan Elsey under investigation.
Officers have been searching two addresses in Swanage yesterday and today but the missing teenager’s aunt Talia Pope, 59, has told MailOnline there is still ‘no evidence’ to prove she is dead and police have not found a body.
She said: ‘We are just searching until we find her. The search is continuing for my niece. It’s ongoing at the moment. It’s inconclusive. But we are just searching until we find her. We’ve got a long way to go yet’.
In an emotional statement released via Dorset Police this afternoon, the Pope family said they missed Gaia ‘beyond words’ and begged anyone with information to come forward.
They said the search to find her would not be stopped until they found a ‘definite conclusion’.
Mrs Dinch, 71, sobbed yesterday as she told how a ‘very upset’ Gaia had ‘pounded’ on her door a week ago but had left again after they shared a hug.
‘I’m pleased because I gave her a cuddle. Of course I want her found. I have no idea where she is. She just seems to have disappeared’, she told BBC South.
Her 19-year-old grandson Nathan Elsey is an aspiring actor and drama student who appeared as an extra alongside Harry Styles in Christopher Nolan’s epic Dunkirk and said on his casting website that the ‘experience gave me more determination than ever to fulfill my dream of becoming an actor’.
Neighbours said they saw police leading the grandmother and her grandson away from the house yesterday evening and allegedly heard ‘shouting and screaming’ from Mrs Dinch’s flat on the day Gaia disappeared.
‘If anyone knows where Gaia is, we beg you to tell us’: The Pope family release emotional statement
This evening, the family of Gaia Pope have released the following statement: ‘We want to express our deepest gratitude to the police, other emergency services and the huge numbers of volunteers and well wishers.
‘The massive effort to find Gaia has been great comfort in what everyone will understand is a deeply worrying and scary experience for all who love Gaia so deeply.
‘We understand that the police continue to investigate all possible scenarios, and we want to emphasise that the search for Gaia continues.
‘We will be releasing information on the Find Gaia Facebook page regarding further volunteer search support.
‘Please understand that we want to keep social media to constructive and positive efforts to find Gaia and not to encourage uninformed speculation which can have a negative impact on the family and be a distraction.
‘Please keep an eye out for requests for further search support.
‘We are aware of the arrests that have taken place but want to emphasise that these must not put a stop to the search until or unless there is a definite conclusion. If anyone knows where Gaia is we beg you to let us know.
‘To Gaia. We all love you forever. We miss you beyond words. We will find you darling girl. The thought of seeing the sunshine of your smile again soon keeps us all going and hoping.’
Nathan Elsey (pictured) is an aspiring actor who appeared as an extra alongside Harry Styles in Christopher Nolan’s epic Dunkirk and is a close friend of Gaia
Mrs Dinch, 71, (pictured outside her house yesterday) was held hours after she was interviewed on local TV where she admitted to being the last person to see Gaia and said they shared a cuddle and she left. The grandmother was bailed today
Gaia (left with Russell Brand and right on social media) was epileptic and also badly affected by a traumatic incident two years ago, her family has said
Officers are still guarding the property today and a team of forensics experts, including some with sniffer dogs, are inside. One policeman carried out a large brown package hidden in an evidence bag this afternoon.
Two days before her disappearance Gaia posted a message on Instagram that said she was worried about being ‘shut up and put in a cell’ with the hashtag #sexualassault and one follower urged her to ‘run somewhere safe’, MailOnline can reveal.
Police will be investigating the possibility she is hiding and Dorset Police’s Det Supt Int Paul Kessler said today the force ‘remains hopeful’ she is still alive and ‘somewhere in the Swanage area’ although he also admitted she ‘may have come to harm’.
Dorset Police has refused to confirm the names of those arrested but said the 71-year-old was held overnight and bailed this morning – the 19-year-old is in custody ‘assisting police with enquiries’, a spokesman said.
A neighbour who witnessed the arrests last night said: ‘Mrs Dinch has emphysema and uses a trolley to walk. I saw police officers escort her to the car. She wasn’t in handcuffs.
‘I saw Nathan being led to the car and his hands were behind his back and there were police officers on either side escorting him. We saw them both being taken away.
‘The whole place has been crawling with police all week. We didn’t know at the time but we have been told since that Gaia was living there.’
A large team of forensics officers, including some with sniffer dogs, are inside the sealed off block of flats where the two suspects lived
Two days before her disappearance she posted a desperate message on Instagram suggesting she feared for her safety and used the hashtag #sexualassault
Natasha Pope, the mother of missing teenager Gaia Pope, (pictured with Jeremy Corbyn) is an actress who appeared in ITV’s police dramas The Bill and Inspector Morse
Nathan lives in a flat behind his grandmother’s flat with his mother, Debbie.
Neighbour Jack Goode, 25, said there had been reports of ‘shouting and screaming’ from Mrs Dinch’s flat on the day Gaia disappeared.
Mr Goode said: ‘The neighbour who lives below told me they heard shouting and screaming on the day it happened.
Gaia (pictured) is from nearby Langton Matravers but had recently been staying with an aunt in Swanage, a few streets away from the home of Nathan Elsey
‘It would’ve been not long before she went missing. Debbie, Nathan’s mum, went over and apologised to them disturbing them.’
He added that Gaia appeared to be good friends with Elsey.
He said: ‘I saw Gaia, I think she was good friends with Nathan. I probably saw her walking to his flat with him twice a week before she disappeared. They spent a lot of time together.’
Mr Goode’s partner Marta Ren, a 30-year-old health care assistant, saw police taking Nathan Elsey away in handcuffs and said: ‘His uncle was shouting “don’t worry everything will be fine”.’
Gaia is from nearby Langton Matravers but had recently been staying with an aunt in Swanage, a few streets away from the home of Nathan Elsey.
Neighbours there said Gaia had visited Nathan’s flat two or three times a week before she disappeared, but weren’t sure if they were a couple or close friends.
A police officer was today stood outside the home of Gaia’s mother, Natasha Pope, in Langton Matravers, a village just outside Swanage, and said the family did not wish to speak.
A female relative of Emilie Brylak, a close friend of Nathan’s said: ‘I have heard about the arrests, I just don’t believe it.
‘He is a very quiet young man. I have known Nathan for quite a while and he is good friends with my granddaughter.
‘They go to the same college. He comes here and I take her to his house.
‘I do not think he could be capable of such a thing. He is a very gentle young man who doesn’t go out. I just don’t believe it.’
Nathan Elsey is also understood to have been arrested on suspicion of killing Gaia, who is thought to have been staying with them or visiting regularly before she vanished
This is the last sighting of Gaia Pope shown running up Manor Gardens in Swanage at 4pm on November 7
Rosemary Dinch, 71, sobbed yesterday as she told how a ‘very upset’ Gaia Pope, 19, had ‘pounded’ on her door (pictured)
Police are still guarding Mrs Dinch’s property today and a teams of forensics experts is inside and sniffer dogs were also used by specialist officers
Neighbours said they police took away Mrs Dinch and her grandson Nathan from this Swanage house yesterday evening
Det Supt Int Paul Kessler said today the force ‘remains hopeful’ she is still alive and ‘somewhere in the Swanage area’ and officers were still putting up missing person posters in the area today
Gaia was epileptic and there are fears she may have suffered a seizure – she was also badly affected by a traumatic incident two years ago, her family has said.
Police, the coastguard and hundreds of members of the public have been searching for Gaia on cliffs, woods, nature reserves and beaches after her disappearance.
Detectives were also investigating whether she had fled the area but have now concluded Gaia has been killed, although they have not found her body
Detectives were also investigating whether she had fled the area but have now concluded she has been killed, although they have not found her body.
Search warrants have been secured for two addresses in Swanage and forensic officers are carrying out fingertip searches of them for clues.
Senior Investigating Officer Neil Devoto, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: ‘It has been almost a week since Gaia’s last confirmed sighting and she has not been seen or heard from since.
‘We have looked through CCTV that covers the Swanage area, including transport hubs, and there is nothing to suggest she has left the area.
‘Her disappearance is completely out of character and, following our extensive enquiries, we sadly now believe that she may have come to harm.
‘We have not yet found Gaia and our searches will continue. I would appeal to anyone who has information about her disappearance to please contact Dorset Police.
‘Our specially-trained officers have updated Gaia’s family and are supporting them at this very difficult time.’
Gaia’s family have been left distraught by her disappearance, especially because of her epilepsy.
Speaking about her missing sibling, Gaia’s twin sister Marienna Pope-Weidemann, told the Bournemouth Daily Echo: ‘This is a waking nightmare for Gaia’s family, but we are so grateful to our community, the volunteer coastguard and all the people who’ve been out searching for her.
‘There’s a lot of ground to cover, so anyone watching – please help us get the word out.’
She added: ‘Gaia, if you hear this, we love you with all our hearts.’
Police, family, friends and worried residents of Swanage have been searching all the areas Gaia (pictured) is known to frequent in the area
The 19-year-old suspect has been named locally as her grandson Nathan Elsey and Gaia is understood to have been staying there or visiting very regularly
Her older sister Clara Pope-Sutherland, 21, told the Daily Echo on Tuesday evening: ‘We just want her to come home.
College friends in shock over actor’s murder arrest
Students at the college where Nathan Elsey studies acting today said he is a ‘really good actor’ who ‘hopes to make a career out of it’.
Pupils at Brockenhurst College in the heart of the New Forest, Hampshire, described the budding actor, who has been arrested on suspicion of murder, as ‘one of the nice guys’.
They also said the 19-year-old would have known Gaia Pope through the college and added that he has a girlfriend who studies there as well.
One student, who didn’t wish to be named, said she knows Gaia’s twin sister and said its ‘awful’ for the family.
She said: ‘I know him, he lives in Swanage. He’s got a girlfriend who goes to this college, I don’t know her name though.
‘I’m not sure how he knows Gaia – the only way he would know her is through college.
‘It’s awful for her family, I’m friends with her twin sister but I haven’t spoken to her because I just don’t know what to say.’
One pupil, who also didn’t wish to be named, said: ‘I used to get the train with him, he’s a really lovely guy and just so nice, you could have a nice conversation with him.
‘He’s a really great actor, he does level 3 I think so he is really good, he’s hoping to make a career out of it.’
A male student added: ‘I’ve seen him around college a bit and spoken to him a few times – he’s one of the nice guys.
‘I would be pretty surprised if he’s got anything to do with it to be honest.’
‘She’s a home bird. She would never do anything like this.
‘She’s just not the kind of person to go off like this – she’d always let us know what was happening.
‘That’s the most concerning thing of all.
‘We’re so worried and we just want to know she’s safe.’
The last reported sighting of Gaia was at an address in Manor Gardens on Morrison Road of Swanage.
She was said to be wearing a red checked shirt with white buttons, grey and white woven leggings and white trainers.
Gaia is 5ft 7ins tall, medium build and has long mousey blonde hair.
Hundreds of people from the town also joined the search, with an appeal shared widely on social media in attempts to find Gaia.
Comedian Russell Brand, who has more than 12 million followers on Twitter, re-tweeted a poster with information about the appeal.
Speaking about the disappearance, Gaia’s sister Marienna Pope, described the situation as a ‘waking nightmare.’
Her mother Natasha said on Facebook: ‘Full scale alert ; my daughter Gaia Pope-Sutherland is missing. Vulnerable. Helicopter out, full scale search they say. Do your best for us people??Find her!!!Knock on doors’.
Last week, Miss Pope’s family issued a statement urging her to get in contact.
They said: ‘We are all frantic with worry Gaia and are desperate to know you are OK. You are not in any trouble and we just want to know you are somewhere safe.
‘Please get in touch with someone to let us know where you are so we can help you’.
Gaia’s older sister, Clara, 21, revealed that Gaia when missing without a coat on and while en-route to see a doctor with her and her aunt.
She revealed that Clara had been suffering from severe anxiety.
She said: ‘In dire need of help; sister missing. There is a full-on police search for my sister Gaia in Swanage. On the way out to get a referral from the GP with my aunt, she walked out the house with no phone or means of contact at around 5pm.
‘Gaia suffers from increasingly severe epilepsy (we have no idea if she has her medication with her) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
‘She is currently going through a period of extreme worry/PTSD episode. As you can probably imagine, she is very vulnerable.
‘I’m hoping that she’ll show up after being sat somewhere and say ‘I was just chilling out and taking some me time’. But after a full night of no one having any contact from her, its safe to say I’m feeling sick to my stomach.
‘So this is a call to arms, please, if you can. Swanage/Dorset/People with cars. I need to find my sister.’
Gaia’s bereft family have described the situation since she vanished as a ‘waking nightmare’
Forensics officers arrived in a van this morning and are now combing over the Swanage house
Gaia, from Langton Matravers, was staying at an address in Swanage when she disappeared last Tuesday afternoon
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