Leicester

Kayleigh Haywood: Family 'devastated' after body is found

Kayleigh Haywood Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Kayleigh was a student at Ashby School and previously attended Ibstock Community College

The family of Kayleigh Haywood said they are "devastated" and "heartbroken" after a body believed to be the missing teenager's was found.

The 15-year-old has not been seen since Friday evening when she was dropped off outside Ibstock Community College in Leicestershire.

Police found a body at a lake north Ibstock late on Wednesday evening.

Two men, aged 27 and 28, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDet Ch Supt David Sandall says he "still needs your help" to find out exactly what happened to Kayleigh "leading up to her death"

In a statement, Kayleigh's family said they were "heartbroken" and "grief-stricken".

"There are no words to express the way we are feeling," they said.

"We cannot even begin to thank the local communities and wider public for their messages of support which have helped us through the last week.

"We are also grateful for the publicity the media have given to Kayleigh's disappearance and the desperate search to find her.

"We would now ask that everyone respects our need for privacy at this harrowing time."

Image caption Kayleigh was dropped off outside Ibstock Community College on Friday

Residents of Kayleigh's home village of Measham say they have been left "numb" by news of the find.

The body was removed from where it was found on Thursday, but has not yet been formally identified as Kayleigh, although her family were informed.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out to determine the cause of death.

Police were given a final 24 hours to question the arrested men on Thursday morning, which means they will have to bring charges or release the suspects on Friday.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption People have left flowers and tributes outside Sence Valley Forest Park, where police carried out an extensive search for Kayleigh Haywood

Det Ch Supt David Sandall said: "From the evidence available to us, we believe that the body found is Kayleigh.

"Understanding the events leading up to her death, and precisely how she died, is clearly our focus, as is providing whatever support we can to Kayleigh's parents, brothers and sister at this desperately bleak time for them."

At the scene - Sarah Teale, BBC East Midlands Today

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe Reverend Linda Cox said Kayleigh's family are absolutely devastated, but very grateful for all of the support from the community

Kayleigh's family were among hundreds of people who attended a special vigil at St Laurence Church in Measham tonight.

There were emotional scenes as the teenager's grief-stricken relatives hugged and kissed each other.

The family told the vicar they were overwhelmed by how many people had come out to show their support - so many they were queuing outside the church, all the way down the drive.

Flowers were placed outside and purple balloons - Kayleigh's favourite colour - were released into the air.

It was incredible to see how many people turned out this evening, and to see the community coming together after such an awful tragedy.

Image copyright PA/AP
Image caption Police officers have been examining the area where Kayleigh Haywood's body was found
Image copyright PA
Image caption Police searched land near to Sence Valley Forest Park in Ibstock

Kayleigh is a student at Ashby School but previously attended Ibstock Community College, where she was dropped off on Friday evening.

In a statement, Ashby School head teacher Eddie Green, said: "Kayleigh was a lively and fun-loving girl in her final GCSE year who had started Year 11 with a real determination to be successful.

"It would appear that this opportunity has sadly been taken away from her."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDet Ch Supt David Sandall has told Kayleigh's family to prepare themselves for the worst

Police said the previous discovery of Kayleigh's mobile phone and belongings, alongside other information, made them believe she had been killed.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Search teams had been looking in a field off Melbourne Road, in Ibstock, on Wednesday

Det Ch Supt Sandall has urged anyone who was in the Diseworth or Belton areas between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning to contact the force.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Around 20 police officers searched a field off Ashby Road, in Belton, and a plot of land near a lay-by had been cordoned off

Kayleigh's disappearance

Image copyright Family photo

Friday 13 November

Kayleigh is dropped off at 18:00 GMT by her family outside Ibstock Community College to spend an evening with friends.

Saturday 14 November

Kayleigh contacts her family on Saturday morning, according to police.

Det Ch Supt David Sandall says: "We have been trying to piece together her last movements and we believe she may have been in the Sence Valley Forest Park area on Saturday afternoon."

Monday 16 November

Two men, aged 27 and 28, are arrested in connection with Kayleigh's disappearance on suspicion of kidnap. Police made the arrests in the early hours.

Police cordon off a house in Baker's Croft and make an urgent appeal for witnesses as they grow increasingly concerned over Kayleigh's disappearance.

Tuesday 17 November

Image copyright PA
Image caption There was heavy police activity at Sence Valley Forest Park this morning

The entrance to Sence Valley Forest Park is cordoned off. A forensic tent is erected and a tactical support team is brought in.

Police say Kayleigh's phone has been found by a member of the public.

Kayleigh's parents, Stephanie Haywood and Martin Whitby, make an appeal in the hope of finding their daughter.

Police are given a further 36 hours to hold and question the two arrested men.

Wednesday 18 November

Image copyright PA
Image caption Police had been searching farmland off Ashby Road, in Belton, about 15 miles (24 km) away

The search of Sence Valley Forest Park resumes.

Police activity moves to the Belton area, less than 10 miles away from the park, where a tent is erected.

At 13:00, police announce they are treating Kayleigh's disappearance as murder, and the two men have been rearrested on suspicion of murder.

Cordons remain in place at the park and the search is widened to other areas including Belton and Diseworth.

A body is discovered in a field north of Ibstock at about 22:00.

Thursday 19 November

Police say they believe the body is that of Kayleigh.

The body is removed from undergrowth next to a lake near Ibstock.

An application is granted by magistrates to hold the men arrested for a further and final 24 hours.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Police were seen guarding a storage container in Diseworth about 20 miles (32 km) from Ibstock

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites