'No Injuries To Suggest' Gaia Pope Was Murdered
20 November 2017, 08:14
Police say tests haven't found any injuries to suggest someone murdered Gaia Pope near Swanage.
A body, believed to be the 19-year-old's, was found near Swanage on Saturday afternoon - near where Gaia's clothes had been found.
Tests on the body didn't find any injuries 'to suggest another person was involved in her death' - and officers are treating it as unexplained. They're still waiting on toxicology results.
Gaia, who had severe epilepsy, went missing on 7 November. Three people arrested in connection with her disappearance have been released from police investigation without any further action.
Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police's Major Crime Investigation Team, said: "Following the results of the post-mortem examination and other ongoing investigative enquiries, we have concluded that no one else was involved in Gaia's death.
"As such we have today, Monday 20 November, released from our investigation two men aged 19 and 49 and a 71-year-old woman, all from Swanage, who had been arrested and were assisting with our enquiries.
"I appreciate our enquiries would have caused these individuals stress and anxiety, however we have an obligation in any missing person investigation to explore every possible line of enquiry.
"The public would expect Dorset Police to fully investigate the sudden disappearance of a teenage girl. Our aim was not only to find Gaia but to find out what happened to her.
"Gaia's family has been informed of this latest development and our thoughts remain with all her family and friends at this incredibly difficult time."
Gaia's twin sister says she's 'heartbroken' - and has thanked everyone involved in the search for her. Crowds gathered for a special church service in Swanage last night.
Floral tributes have begun to be left on the Alfred Monument, next to the sea front.
Gaia Pope's twin sister, Maya, spoke of her heartbreak and vowed to "make her so proud".
Paying tribute to the teenager, Miss Pope-Sutherland, wrote on Facebook: "Can't find any words right now. Gaia is my everything and I am heartbroken. I thank everyone who was involved in searching for my beautiful twin. Going to make her so proud."
The twins' cousin, Marienna Pope-Weidemann, also paid tribute, saying: "My beautiful baby girl, so sunny and kind but tough.
"We hold you in our hearts forever. Know you are with Nan & Pops now but miss you beyond words. You will have justice. Fly on. #JusticeForGaia"
Elder sister Clara Pope described the teenager as the "absolute light of my life" and said she was "so beautiful, so emotionally wise and intelligent and so passionate and artistic and creative and understanding".
Family friend Sheri Carr, who organised the Find Gaia social media campaign, spoke of her devastation at the loss of Miss Pope.
"We are absolutely devastated, and unable to put into words our feeling of loss. We thank you for everything you have done," she wrote on Facebook.
"If there is one ray of light in this nightmare, it is the compassion, humanity and community spirit you've shown over the last 10 days."