A BODY found in woodland on the English queen's Sandringham estate is that of a female who had been murdered, police said yesterday.
Detectives hope that tests would disclose her identity in the next few days and they are trawling through missing persons' cases.
The body was found at 4pm on New Year's Day close to a public footpath near Anmer, Norfolk, and less than two miles from the estate's main residence, where the royal family has been spending their Christmas break.
It was discovered in a 30ft wide copse between two crop fields. Royal shooting parties are thought to have used the area over the Christmas break. The queen and Prince Philip were informed of the find on Monday night.
One recent missing person case detectives are thought to be looking at is that of a 17-year-old Latvian, Alisa Dmitrijeva, who disappeared from nearby King's Lynn. There were concerns for the safety of the brown-haired teenager, who lived in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, and was reported missing on September 6.
Nat Cary, a Home Office pathologist, was overseeing forensic tests at the scene yesterday. The body was later expected to be removed and taken to hospital for a post-mortem examination.
Further examinations were likely to be carried out at the scene today.
Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry said: "We have a lot to establish. The body has been in situ for some time. It is the body of a female. The circumstances indicate that she is probably the victim of a murder. We will be continuing our enquiries to establish who she is and how she came to be there."
Mr Fry refused to be drawn on details about the state in which the body was found, saying that, apart from the dog walker who found the body and police, only "the people or persons who put her there" would have known about them.
He said: "The gentleman was walking his dog. The body was not underground as such. We have got all sorts of inquiries ongoing to try and establish who the victim is."
He added: "Part of the post-mortem will be to establish the identification, whether that be through fingerprints or DNA.
"It is very early days on the forensic side of things. It could be a challenging investigation. What I really need is for the experts to give me some sort of idea how long the victim has been there."
Officers have been using social media in an effort to track down Alisa and have created a Facebook advert targeted at people living in Wisbech, Norfolk and Lincolnshire.
The advertisement has been created in English, Latvian and Lithuanian.
A £5,000 (€5,990) reward has been offered for infor- mation.
The village of Anmer has just 29 homes and 63 residents, many of them workers on the royal estate. (©Daily Telegraph, London)