Missing teenage girl (17) may have been pregnant
A missing teenager who is alleged to have been murdered by her ex-partner may have been pregnant at the time of her disappearance, it emerged tonight.
Thames Valley Police confirmed that detectives attempting to locate 17-year-old Jayden Parkinson were aware of speculation that she was expecting a baby.
In a statement issued after Jayden's former boyfriend appeared in court accused of murder, Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Murray said: "During the course of the investigation there has been some suggestion that Jayden may be pregnant.
"At this time we simply don't have any way of confirming whether this is correct or not."
As searches to trace the teenager continued at several locations in the Didcot area of Oxfordshire, the senior officer added: "Our priority at this time is to find Jayden."
Jayden, who was living in Oxford, was last seen on the afternoon of December 3 this year after travelling to Didcot by train.
Speculation that Jayden may have been pregnant emerged after her ex-partner, Ben Blakeley, was brought before magistrates accused of murdering the teenager and disposing of her body.
Blakeley, 22, and a 17-year-old youth who cannot be named for legal reasons, were both remanded in custody after making separate appearances at Oxford Magistrates' Court in connection with Jayden's disappearance.
Blakeley is alleged to have murdered Jayden and to have perverted the course of justice by disposing of her body and lying to the police about the last time he saw her alive.
The 17-year-old boy is accused of perverting the course of justice between December 3 and December 10 by assisting in the disposal of Jayden's body and other evidence.
Blakeley, of Christchurch Road, Reading, was ordered to reappear at Oxford Crown Court tomorrow, when the youth will appear before a special sitting of the city's youth court.
The 17-year-old youth spoke only to confirm his personal details to the court clerk during a 25-minute appearance before three magistrates this afternoon.
The teenager was originally arrested last Friday by detectives investigating Jayden's disappearance.
Specialist search teams backed by helicopters and police dogs have been attempting to locate Jayden, who was last seen at about 4.30pm on December 3.
Throughout the weekend, police carried out a detailed search of an area of farmland just outside the village of Upton, near Didcot.
Commenting on the extensive search operation, Mr Murray said: "We now have a number of locations where police activity is taking place, mainly in the Didcot and Upton area.
"All of this activity will understandably disrupt and worry the local community.
"Our priority is to find Jayden, and as you can imagine with all of the media attention, we have received a lot of useful information which has led us to focus our attention on these areas.
"The public is asked to be patient and, as we said yesterday, to refrain from carrying out their own searches as it could jeopardise police work."
Thanking the media and the public for their help during the inquiry so far, Mr Murray added: "We are doing everything we can, working tirelessly round the clock, to find where Jayden is."