April Jones' parents thank the public for their support one month on from the five-year-old's disappearance

 

The parents of missing five-year-old April Jones have thanked the public for their support one month on from the youngster's sudden disappearance.

In a statement released four weeks to the day after the schoolgirl was abducted from the quiet market town of Machynlleth in mid Wales, Coral and Paul Jones also described how they were “overwhelmed” by the amount of resources being used to find their “beautiful daughter”.

They said: “It is four weeks since April was taken from us, as a family we are obviously devastated and our lives have been torn apart.

“Since October 1 we have received messages, flowers and cards from across not only the UK but the world and we have taken comfort knowing that people are thinking of April and us.

“Thank you for all your kind words and sentiments.”

The statement, released by Dyfed Powys Police, continued: “We have been continually updated about the investigation and the search for April.

“We are overwhelmed by the massive amount of resources being used and we are extremely grateful that so many search teams are still out there, every day, looking for our beautiful daughter.

“We have been supported by our family, friends and neighbours over the past four weeks and it has been their love and support that has helped us get through each day.”

Police are continuing their painstaking search for the missing five-year-old, who was last seen getting into a vehicle near her home.

More than 40,000 man hours spent meticulously hunting for the missing girl have so far uncovered no trace of her and more than 150 expert searchers still scour 60 square kilometres of rugged tree-covered terrain around the town every day.

Mountains, derelict mines, potholes, lakes, the River Dyfi and the town itself fall within more than 300 search areas.

Every five days search teams are stood down and replaced by an equal number of freshly-rested experts eager to start work.

Dyfed Powys Police continue to co-ordinate the massive operation and have vowed to search on into 2013 if necessary.

There has also been significant support from the local community - and across the world - with thousands continuing to wear pink ribbons as a sign of solidarity for the youngster's parents.

Prayers have continued to be said in churches across Wales, as well as users of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter continuing to re-post appeals for information.

Her parents are also understood to be receiving specialist help from police over the festive holiday season.

Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas - all family-orientated events - are set to be especially traumatic for her loved ones.

To mark the third week of her disappearance, Machynlleth town hall clock tower was lit in pink as a tribute and on Monday 200 pink balloons were released into the air in Oswestry, Shropshire.

Mr and Mrs Jones said: “We have taken great strength from the procession through the town to the church and the lighting-up of the town clock in pink, April's favourite colour.

“With the help of our family liaison officers, local police officers and friends, we were able to participate in both events.

“We avoided media attention because we simply wanted to be part of the community without drawing attention away from the events themselves.

“Thank you to every single person who attended each event and made them so special.”

April, who suffers from cerebral palsy and has irritable bowel syndrome, was last seen at about 7pm on October 1 playing out on her bike with friends on the Bryn-y-Gog estate.

She had been allowed to stay up later after getting a glowing school report earlier in the day.

Local man Mark Bridger, 46, was arrested the day after and his Land Rover Discovery seized for forensic examination.

He was later charged with the abduction and murder of April.

Speaking today, Ceri Herbert, 33, a friend of April's family, said the youngster's parents were “focused every day” on finding their daughter.

She said: “It's hard to describe how they are coping. Obviously, they are devastated but really there are no words to describe the pain they are going through.

“For Paul and Coral, their focus every day is to find April and I think only then will they be able to look to the future.”

Ms Herbert said the couple “keep going” for the sake of April's brother and sisters.

She said: “The whole family are so strong, I'm just in awe of them. I couldn't fathom how they feel, yet they still have the courage to get up in the morning and have the drive to find April.

“April's siblings are obviously a major reason why their parents can keep going at the moment.

“They have as much hope as everyone else in the family and the community.”

The couple had also taken support from “countless” messages sent from around the world. Ms Herbert said: “”People have sent cards and letters, sent their love and said that April is constantly in their thoughts and it means so much to Paul and Coral.

“Knowing that the police are doing such a fantastic job also means so much to them. As a community, we have had to step back from the search to allow the professionals to do their work. But we still have to be vigilant and support the wonderful police and search teams.

“The community just want to support Coral and the family as much as we can. We have all got hope that April will be found soon.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine