The family of missing five-year-old April Jones who has been abducted from her home town have said their lives have been “shattered” and pleaded for her safe return.
April was last seen getting into a van in Machynlleth in mid Wales on the evening of October 1 and a 46-year-old man, named by sources as Mark Bridger, has been arrested on suspicion of her abduction.
In a statement, read out by Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan of Dyfed Powys police, April’s family said: “Last night our lives were shattered when our beautiful little girl April who was playing with friends was taken from us. We are devastated and our lives have stopped. Please, please if you have our little girl, let her come home to us.”
The statement went on: “This is such a small, close-knit community and we plead with anyone who has any information, no matter how small they may think it is, to contact the police immediately. Please help us bring home our beautiful little girl.”
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Bevan said detectives were “following various lines of inquiry”.
He told the media: “We are continuing the investigation into the abduction of five-year-old April Jones from Machynlleth.
“As you are aware, an arrest was made earlier today at approximately 3.30pm of a 46-year-old local man on suspicion of abduction.
“He remains in police custody at Aberystwyth Police Station and we will be interviewing him this evening.
“April was abducted at around 7pm on Monday night from Brynygog estate in Machynlleth.
“We are still following various lines of inquiry with the priority to find April.
“This is a criminal investigation and we are not able to comment on any speculation or rumour which could jeopardise the integrity of the investigation, but we will still provide specially trained family liaison officers to support the family and in fact there are senior officers with them at this moment.”
Mr Bevan said police have not found any trace of April yet.
“It’s still at the stage where she remains missing,” he said. “We are pursuing every line of inquiry that may result in finding April.
“At this stage we’ve found nothing.”
Mr Bevan described the man they are currently interviewing as a “significant individual hence we made that arrest”.
He said police had recovered one vehicle, which belongs to the man in custody.
“At this stage that is similar to the description given by the children.”
The car is a mid-90s Land Rover Discover, L-registration with left-hand drive.
Superintendent Ian John, the local police commander, said specialist police officers and mountain rescue were continuing to search.
“We ask the public to take this opportunity to have some rest and if they’re available to consider coming and helping us again tomorrow,” Mr John said.
“The residents have really shown themselves to be a very close-knit and kind hearted community.”
Mr John said the next press conference will be held not before 7.30am tomorrow with any significant developments to be communicated to media throughout the night.