Body is missing disabled man, say police

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The Independent Online

A body discovered yesterday is that of a missing disabled man whose mother was found hanged earlier this week, detectives said today.







West Mercia Police said officers would need to study dental records in order to formally identify the remains of James Hughes.



But a spokesman for the force said it was believed that the body, found at the family home in Redditch, Worcestershire, was that of the 22-year-old.







James and his mother, Heather Wardle, were reported missing last Saturday, a day after the 39-year-old mother-of-four left home, saying she was going to visit a friend.

A post-mortem on James' body began last night and is continuing today.



Formal identification of the body is expected to take some time, the police spokesman added.



Superintendent Jane Horwood added: "The post-mortem should give us more information about how and when James died.



"What started out as a missing persons inquiry has tragically become an investigation into two deaths.



"While we never gave up hope of finding both Heather and James alive, we were extremely concerned about both of them right from the start, and our fears for James obviously increased after the discovery of his mother's body.



"This is without doubt one of the saddest cases West Mercia Constabulary has dealt with and the events of the last few days have left residents of Church Hill and the wider Redditch community shocked."





















Meanwhile, a man and a youth arrested on suspicion of murder late yesterday afternoon remain in custody at Redditch and Kidderminster police stations.

The suspects' ages have not been released and officers have also refused to say whether they were known to James.



Officers are continuing to search the garden of the disabled man's terraced home in Loxley Close, where a white tent has been erected by police.



Detectives are still attempting to establish when and where James - who used a wheelchair and had a mental age of 18 months - was last seen alive.



"We have had a good response to appeals for information and reported sightings of James are being investigated," Supt Horwood said.



Ms Wardle's body was found at the base of a tree on Monday in dense undergrowth off Winyates Way, Redditch. Her death continues to be treated as unexplained.