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Body 'is missing mother, 18'

An 18-year-old woman discovered dead in the front room of a house is believed to be a mother of one who went missing on Valentine's Day.

Police visited a house on Whateley Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, just after 11am yesterday, where a man was due to be arrested on suspicion of fraud.

They found the body, which is believed to be that of Nicole Cartmell, who has been missing from her home in Sandwell since February 14, a West Midlands Police spokesman said.

Two men, aged 18 and 20, have been arrested in connection with the incident and are being questioned by detectives.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Jones said: "We are at the very early stages of this investigation. However, one strong line of inquiry is that the body is that of Nicole, who has been missing for the past fortnight.

"Nicole gave birth to a baby boy in January and her family have been very distressed since her disappearance last month.

"Specialist family liaison officers are supporting them at this difficult time. Anyone who knows Nicole, or who has information that may prove helpful to the inquiry is urged to contact us at their earliest convenience.

"Two men were arrested from the address on suspicion of murder and they are being questioned by detectives today."

The force spokesman said the death is being treated as suspicious and a post-mortem examination will take place to determine a cause of death.

Police tents were erected outside the property, which was contained within a police cordon.

A tent covered the front window of the terrace house, which is close to the corner of Whateley Road, while another stood on the pavement outside the house next to a police van.

A floral tribute was propped up against the exterior wall of the property with a card that read: "To Nicky, RIP. You were a nice, sweet girl. Only 18 years old!"

The spokesman said local officers will be in the area of Whateley Road to offer reassurance to residents concerned by the incident.

Sergeant Jill Hughes, who covers the East Handsworth neighbourhood, said: "People living in the area will understandably be shocked and upset by what has happened within their community. However, extra officers will be in the area and we hope that local people can be reassured by the fact that two people are currently helping police with the investigation."

Anyone able to help the police inquiry should contact the Sandwell and Dudley team of Force CID at Harborne police station on 0345 113 5000 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.