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Body found in search for mother who vanished from hospital with newborn baby


Charlotte Bevan

Charlotte Bevan

The new mother vanished from Bristol Maternity Hospital on Tuesday with her four-day-old daughter

The new mother vanished from Bristol Maternity Hospital on Tuesday with her four-day-old daughter


Charlotte Bevan

A body has been discovered in the hunt for a missing mother and her four-day old baby.

Charlotte Bevan, 30, walked out of Bristol Maternity Hospital on Tuesday with her daughter, Zaani Tiana.

Last night a woman’s body was found in the Avon Gorge in Bristol. Formal identification is due to take place later today but Ms Bevan’s family have been informed, Avon and Somerset Police said.

However, there was no sign of a baby and a police statement said that “a helicopter remains in the area to assist the continuing searches by police officers on the ground.“

CCTV footage showed Ms Bevan leaving the hospital just after 8.30pm on 2 December without a coat and wearing only hospital slippers, a long black top and black trousers. She was carrying her newborn daughter, who was wrapped in just a blanket.

Pascal Malbrouck, Ms Bevan's boyfriend and Zaani's father, said she had been suffering from mental health problems. He told the Bristol Post that she had been happy before she gave birth but had been sleep deprived.

Speaking at a press conference, he issued a heartfelt plea for her to “please come home”.

He said: “I miss you. The last few days have been amazing and I want many more of these.

“Please come home. I am waiting for you. You are welcome home at time even if it’s not straight away. Please just let us know you are ok.”

Her mother, Rachel Fortune, also appealed for her daughter to get in touch, telling her: “We have really enjoyed seeing you being such a good mother – let’s go forward with that.

“We all love you very much and just want to know you are ok.”

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Crisp said Ms Bevan had been making “great progress” and was due to be discharged from hospital in a day or two.

He said: “The reports we have from the hospital are that Charlotte is a good, loving mum who was due to be discharged in a few days. They had no concerns about her ability to look after her daughter.”

But Ms Bevan shocked staff by walking out and not telling anyone where she was going.

Friends described Ms Bevan as part of a “happy couple” and said her disappearance was totally “out of character”.

Just hours before she went missing, Ms Bevan posted a self-help video on her Facebook page called Get Through Positive And Negative Thinking Rough Patches.

But earlier this month she had posted happy pictures of herself with her baby bump on the social networking site, where she also described herself as a “free spirit”.

Describing herself, she wrote: “I am free open-minded individual I love music, art, dancing and making clothes.

“I'm a free spirit open minded and individual I appreciate people for who they are kind or nasty they all need love.”

Isaac McCardle, a friend of the couple, told of the fraught hunt to find Ms Bevan and Zaani Tiana.

Writing on Avon and Somerset Police's Facebook page, he said: “This is out of character.

“I was out on the streets with a friend for over three hours and searched almost every road, park, alleyway etc in the area as well as high streets and found nothing.”

He described Ms Bevan and Mr Malbrouck as “a happy couple”.