Thomas, 12, may have known killer

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The Independent Online
Detectives were yesterday investigating the possibility that schoolboy Thomas Marshall may have known his killer. Police said they were following "genuine lines of inquiry" and thought the key to the case might lie in or near Thomas's home village of Happisburgh, Norfolk. But a spokesman stressed that police were keeping an open mind about the killing - including the possibility that Thomas, 12, may have been abducted by a paedophile.

Thomas disappeared from his home at around 6pm on Thursday. His body was discovered 50 miles away in a picnic area off the A11 near Thetford a day later. He had been strangled. His mountain bike was found lying by a road at East Ruston, about four miles from his home. Thomas had told his parents, John and Carol, that he was going to visit a friend in Eccles. But they were told that he had never arrived. Detective Superintendent Les Parrett, who is leading the investigation, said officers were trying to locate as many of Thomas's friends and associates as possible. They were also considering the possibility that the killer had dumped Thomas's bike and taken his body to Thetford to lay a false trail.

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