Missing Louise Smith: Friends 'devastated' after body find in Havant

image copyrightHampshire Constabulary
image captionLouise Smith was described as a "lovely girl with a heart of gold" by a friend

Friends and neighbours of a missing teenager have said they are "devastated" after a body was found in woodland.

The 16-year-old, named locally as Louise Smith, was last seen on 8 May - VE Day- Havant, Hampshire.

Officers discovered the remains in Havant Thicket on Thursday. Formal identification has yet to take place.

Forensic officers continue to search the woods and a flat in Somborne Drive, where Louise was last seen.

Mandy Ferdinando, who had known Louise since she was a young girl, laid flowers at the entrance to the thicket.

She told the Press Association: "She was a lovely girl with a heart of gold.

"The community is devastated, sad, shocked, I can't speak for everybody but when anyone hears of a young person, whoever it may be, it's very sad."

Neighbour John Singleton said: "I saw her on the day she went missing, she just went out walking, I didn't know where she was going.

"It's very sad, the outcome is the saddest, for a while we had some hope."

image copyrightPA Media
image captionFlowers have been left at Havant Thicket where a body was found

Detectives said they were treating the death as suspicious and urged people not to speculate on the circumstances.

Louise had not been in touch with her friends or family since being seen in Somborne Drive, a short distance from where the body was found.

A man and a woman, both aged 29, had previously been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and released on bail.

Hampshire police previously asked people in the area to save any dashcam and CCTV footage from 7 and 8 May - particularly any filmed at VE Day anniversary celebrations - for officers to review.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionForensics officers have been searching a flat in Somborne Drive, the road where Louise was last seen
image copyrightHampshire Constabulary
image captionLouise went shopping at a Tesco store on the evening before she was reported missing

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