Three arrested over Gaia Pope disappearance released from police investigation

Three people arrested in connection with the disappearance of Gaia Pope have been released from police investigation without any further action.

Dorset Police said no-one else was involved in the death of the 19-year-old, whose body was found on Saturday afternoon by specialist search teams on land south of Swanage, near to where some of her clothing was recovered.

(PA Graphics)

A post-mortem examination had not identified any injuries to suggest third party involvement and Miss Pope’s death was being treated as “unexplained”.

Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police´s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Following the results of the post-mortem examination and other ongoing investigative inquiries, we have concluded that no-one else was involved in Gaia´s death.

“As such we have today released from our investigation two men aged 19 and 49 and a 71-year-old woman, all from Swanage, who had been arrested and were assisting with our inquiries.

“I appreciate our inquiries would have caused these individuals stress and anxiety, however we have an obligation in any missing person investigation to explore every possible line of inquiry.

“The public would expect Dorset Police to fully investigate the sudden disappearance of a teenage girl.

“Our aim was not only to find Gaia but to find out what happened to her.

“Gaia´s family has been informed of this latest development and our thoughts remain with all her family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.”

The 19-year-old man and 71-year-old woman were arrested last Monday and released under investigation after 24 hours.

A 49-year-old man, named locally as Paul Elsey, was arrested later but also released under investigation.

A missing person notice for Gaia Pope in Swanage, Dorset

A missing person notice for Gaia Pope in Swanage, Dorset

Miss Pope, who suffered from severe epilepsy, had not been seen for 11 days and her disappearance prompted a massive campaign from family and friends to find her.

Miss Pope’s twin sister, Maya, spoke of her heartbreak and vowed to “make her so proud”.

Miss Pope-Sutherland paid tribute to the teenager, writing 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.”

Elder sister Clara Pope described the teenager as the “absolute light of my life” and said she was “so beautiful, so emotionally wise and intelligent and so passionate and artistic and creative and understanding”.

Floral tributes for Gaia Pope are left at the King Alfred Monument on the seafront in Swanage

Floral tributes for Gaia Pope are left at the King Alfred Monument on the seafront in Swanage

Floral tributes have begun to be left on the Alfred Monument, next to the sea front.

The news of the discovery of Miss Pope’s body on Saturday night came hours after hundreds of people joined searches around Swanage looking for the teenager, who suffered from severe epilepsy.

Miss Pope’s father, Richard Sutherland, was among them and personally thanked members of the public who had gathered at Durlston Country Park.

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