The discovery of a body was made at 11.30am yesterday at a house in a run-down cul-de-sac in Murton, County Durham, about 10 miles from Laura's home. She had been missing for 10 days since she left her home in Penshaw village, on the outskirts of Sunderland, saying she was going to play with friends.
She was spotted three times shortly after leaving her house but when she failed to return an intensive search was launched, which included an appeal for information at a football match between Sunderland and Newcastle, without success. More than 50 police officers and 60 volunteers took part in the search.
Her mother Carol, 37, made an emotional appeal for anyone who may be holding her to release her safely and as part of the search, Northumbria Police interviewed known paedophiles in the area and trawled through the sex offenders' register. The police force could not confirm whether the officers searching the house were acting on a tip-off or if it was part of the questioning of local paedophiles.
A police spokeswoman said that forensic experts were examining the house where the body was found. "We are not in a position to confirm at this stage the identity of the body, but it is believed to be that of Laura," she said. "A Durham man has been arrested and is currently held in police custody."
"Forensic experts are currently examining the scene and this is expected to take some time. A post mortem examination will be carried in due course," she added.
Laura was the youngest of seven children. She had three sisters, Billy, 15, Emma, 14 and Lorraine aged 12 and three brothers, Kevin, 11 and twins Mark and Shaun aged 10.Reuse content