Monday 19 August 2019

No third party involved in death of missing teenager Gaia Pope, police say

Gaia Pope
Gaia Pope
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

No one else was involved in the death of teenager Gaia Pope, according to police.

The 19-year-old's body was found on Saturday afternoon by specialist search teams on land south of Swanage - close to where clothing positively identified as belonging to the teenager was found on Thursday.

Dorset Police said a post-mortem examination had not identified any injuries to suggest third party involvement and Miss Pope's death was being treated as "unexplained".

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.

Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police's major crime investigation team, said: "The post-mortem examination has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved in her death. The cause of death is undetermined pending toxicology.

"The coroner is involved in the oversight of these examinations but at this time this remains an investigation into an unexplained death.

"We would like to take this further opportunity to pass our thoughts to Gaia's family who we continue to support and who ask for respect of their privacy at this incredibly stressful time.

"Once again I would like to pass our thanks to the public volunteers and partner organisations who have supported this inquiry throughout and have been material in locating Gaia.

"The area where the body was located is likely to remain cordoned off for some time while forensic examinations and searches are concluded.

"Please can I ask that the public no longer attend to assist with searches and that they remain a safe distance from the location.

"I reiterate this area is steep and slippery in an exposed area close to sea cliffs. The area is covered in dense undergrowth and gorse and can present a hazard.

"Only specially-trained search and forensic teams are entering the area, assisted by Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service recovery teams."

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