Timeline: Milly Dowler family's wait for justice

Milly Dowler
Image caption The Old Bailey heard Milly disappeared "in the blink of an eye" as she walked home from school in Surrey in 2002

The disappearance of Milly Dowler led to the largest inquiry in the history of Surrey Police.

The 13-year-old vanished as she walked home from school in Walton-on-Thames in March 2002. Her remains were found six months later in woods in Hampshire.

At the Old Bailey on Thursday, convicted double killer Levi Bellfied was found guilty of her murder.

This is a timeline of events.

March 2002

Milly is reported missing after failing to return home from school. She had last been seen by a schoolfriend in Station Avenue, Walton-on-Thames, close to where Levi Bellfield lived.

Image caption Police released CCTV images of Milly leaving school on the day she disappeared

More than 100 officers and dozens of volunteers are involved in the search for Milly. The head teacher at Milly's school in Weybridge says everyone is "in limbo".

Milly's parents, Sally and Bob, release footage showing the 13-year-old ironing and playing the saxophone at home shortly before Christmas. Mr Dowler says he believes his daughter has been abducted.

A television reconstruction of Milly's last known movements is shown on BBC's Crimewatch and an RAF helicopter is brought in to take high-resolution aerial photographs of the area where she was last seen.

Massive search for missing girl

April to May 2002

The search is widened beyond the Walton-on-Thames area. Officers examine Milly's computer to see if she was using internet chat rooms.

Milly's sister, Gemma, says the disappearance has been like a nightmare. Police also release parts of a "friendship book" kept by Milly and her friend Hannah MacDonald in the hope whoever may be holding her contact them.

The Sun newspaper offers a £100,000 reward for information which results in finding the missing schoolgirl.

Police make their first arrest in their investigation. A 36-year-old man from Chertsey is questioned but released without charge. A second man, aged 52, is also questioned about her disappearance but later released.

Sister's grief over missing Amanda

June to July 2002

Image caption Milly's parents, Bob and Sally, spoke of their heartache as their daughter's 14th birthday passed

Detectives tell Milly's parents "to expect the worst" as the search continues. Bob and Sally talk of their heartache as their daughter's 14th birthday passes.

Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was abducted and killed in July 2000, urge Bob and Sally to "stay strong and hopeful".

Police reveal CCTV evidence shows Milly was probably snatched in a "chance abduction" as she was walking along Station Avenue.

Parents' hell over missing Milly

September to October 2002

Milly's remains are found in remote woodland by a couple picking mushrooms at Yateley Heath in Hampshire. She is identified through her dental records.

A memorial service, attended by Bob, Sally and Gemma and staff and pupils from Heathside School, takes place at Guildford Cathedral.

Milly's parents told: 'Expect the worst'

March 2003

A funeral procession takes place along Station Avenue where Milly was last seen before a private ceremony is held at St John's Crematorium in Woking.

Family leads Milly's funeral procession

October 2003

Image caption Milly had a close relationship with her older sister Gemma (right)

Celebrities and music stars are among almost 2,000 people to attend a show held to celebrate Milly's life at the London Palladium.

Pop Idol winner Will Young headlined the Music and Laughter for Milly event, which raised money for a charity set up in her memory.

Stars support Milly's Fund gala

March to July 2005

Police release details about a red Daewoo Nexia car, which was seen on CCTV less than 100 yards away from where Milly disappeared.

Detectives reveal they have pursued 11,500 lines of inquiry and taken 4,300 statements. Forty-seven officers are still working on the case,

A former bouncer and wheelclamper, Levi Bellfield, is questioned over the murder of Milly but the development is not made public.

Car 'breakthrough' in Milly case

February 2008

Bellfield is given a whole life term for murdering two women and attempting to kill a third.

Image caption Bellfield is named as the prime suspect in the murder in February 2008

The 39-year-old, from west London, bludgeoned Amelie Delagrange, 22, and Marsha McDonnell, 19, after they got off buses in south-west London.

He is also found guilty of trying to kill Kate Sheedy, then 18, in 2004.

Bellfield is named as a prime suspect in the murder of Milly.

Surrey Police say the end of Bellfield's trial has provided "new opportunities for us to explore areas that we had previously been unable to".

Bellfield given 'whole life' term

August 2009

Surrey Police submit a dossier of evidence against Bellfield to the Crown Prosecution Service.

April 2010

Bellfield is formally charged with Milly's murder. He appears by video link at Staines Magistrates' Court.

May 2011

The trial of Levi Bellfield begins at the Old Bailey.

Milly 'gone in blink of an eye'

June 2011

Bellfield is found guilty of the murder of Milly Dowler.