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15 May 2017, 09:14 | Updated: 15 May 2017, 09:33
A search has begun today, Monday, May 15, at a garage block in Stifford Clays, Thurrock, in connection with the murder of 15-year-old schoolgirl Danielle Jones in 2001.
Since February officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate (SCD) have been examining information received and will now search an area between Goddard Road and Crammavill Street.
They have not at this time ruled out the possibility that Danielle’s body could be buried there.
Some non-specific information was received in 2001 relating to this garage area, however, these garages were not searched during the 2001 investigation. We are working to ascertain why these were not searched as part of the original investigation.
Danielle Jones was last seen at around 8am on Monday, June 18, 2001, when she left her home in East Tilbury to catch the bus to school.
Extensive searches were conducted in the bid to find her and despite the conviction of her uncle Stuart Campbell for murder in December 2002 her body has never been found.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Worron, head of the SCD, said: "Danielle’s disappearance in 2001 and the subsequent murder investigation was one of the biggest cases Essex Police had dealt with at the time.
"Over the course of the investigation more than 750 police officers and staff worked tirelessly to find out for her family what happened to Danielle.
"To date Stuart Campbell has shown no remorse for his crime and has not told police or Danielle’s family where her body is.
"We received information earlier this year that there had been unusual activity in the garage block around the time of Danielle’s disappearance.
"We are following a credible line of enquiry in respect of this garage block and I am absolutely committed to conducting a thorough and professional search to see if we can bring the Jones family any closer to knowing what happened to Danielle 16 years ago."
ACC Worron added: "We have remained in contact with Danielle’s parents Linda and Tony Jones since Campbell’s conviction for her murder and we have updated them on our plans for this search.
"We will continue to keep them up to date on our progress."
Danielle parents Linda and Tony Jones said: "We are extremely grateful that the police are following up this information and we know they are determined to do whatever they can to find Danielle.
"We think about Danielle every day and we hope that this latest search may bring us answers to what happened to her 16 years ago."
Anyone who feels they have information which could assist the enquiry is asked to contact Stanway Major Investigation Room on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.