Charlotte Bevan: Body found in Avon Gorge formally identified as missing mother

Ms Bevan, 30, disappeared from Bristol Maternity Hospital on Tuesday with her four-day-old daughter

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The Independent Online

The body of a woman found in Avon Gorge has been formally identified as missing mother Charlotte Bevan, Avon and Somerset Police have said.

Officers are continuing to search for the 30-year-old's daughter Zaani Tiana, who is now six days old. The pair disappeared from Bristol Maternity Hospital on Tuesday.

A police statement said: "An intensive search operation is still under way in the Avon Gorge area involving police, Avon Search and Rescue, mountain rescue volunteers and the police helicopter.

"Our thoughts remain with Charlotte's family and partner Pascal."

Police said earlier that there was "no sign of a baby" and reported that a helicopter would remain in the area to assist the continuing searches by police officers on the ground. Officers are said to only be searching in the deep ravine where Ms Bevan's body was found.

CCTV footage Avon and Somerset Police released of missing person Charlotte Bevan

CCTV footage showed Ms Bevan leaving St Michael’s Hospital just after 8.30pm on December 2, without a coat. She was wearing hospital slippers, a long black top and black trousers and carrying her newborn daughter, who was wrapped in a blanket.

Charlotte Bevan disappeared from Bristol Maternity Hospital with her 4-day-old daughter

CCTV footage of Charlotte Bevan leaving Bristol Maternity Hospital with her 4 day old daughter

Pascal Malbrouck, Ms Bevan's boyfriend and Zaani's father, told the Bristol Post that Ms Bevan had been suffering from mental health problems. He said that she had been "happy" before she gave birth, but had been sleep deprived.

Pascal Malbrouck the boyfriend of Charlotte Bevan

He also issued an emotional appeal at a press conference for Ms Bevan to return home, saying: “I miss you. The last few days have been amazing and I want many more of these.

“Please come home. I am waiting for you. You are welcome home at time even if it’s not straight away. Please just let us know you are ok.”

Read more: Police release CCTV footage in appeal for Bristol mother
Read more: Police find woman's body in Avon Gorge

Her mother, Rachel Fortune, also pleaded for her daughter to get in touch. “We have really enjoyed seeing you being such a good mother – let’s go forward with that," she said.

“We all love you very much and just want to know you are ok.”

The bodies of Charlotte Bevan and Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck were discovered in Avon Gorge

Hours before she went missing, Ms Bevan posted a self-help video on her Facebook page called 'Get Through Positive And Negative Thinking Rough Patches'.

But earlier this month she had posted happy pictures of herself with her baby bump on the social networking site, where she also described herself as a "free spirit, open minded and individual". She added: "I appreciate people for who they are kind or nasty they all need love."

Six-day-old Zaani Tiana is still missing

Friends described Ms Bevan, who is believed to have suffered from schizophrenia and depression, as part of a "happy couple" and said her disappearance was "out of character".

A spokeswoman for University Hospitals Bristol Trust said a review of the care Ms Bevan and her baby received would be undertaken.

"We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Charlotte Bevan and offer our heartfelt condolences to her family," the Trust spokeswoman said.

"While it remains unclear as to how Charlotte died, we will be conducting a thorough review of the care Charlotte and her baby received to see if there was anything we could have done to prevent this tragic and unexplained death.

"We continue to work closely with other agencies who are continuing to search for Charlotte's baby daughter."

University Hospitals Bristol Trust said they have now launched an investigation into the mother and baby's care

Ms Bevan had been due to be discharged from hospital, with "no indications" she planned to leave early, the spokeswoman said.

Staff last saw Ms Bevan and her baby at 8.30pm, but when they went back to check on her at 9.05pm both were missing.

Police cordon off Royal Fort Road near St Michael's Hospital in Bristol during the search for missing mother Charlotte Bevan

St Michael’s Hospital has not confirmed whether an internal investigation is being carried out.

Additional reporting by PA