Police may take 'some time' to identify human remains

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The Independent Online

Detectives investigating the murder of Sian O'Callaghan are still working to establish the identity of a set of human remains found at a second site.

Wiltshire Police have been scouring the national DNA database but have warned if no matches are found it could take "some time" to identify the woman.

Excavation work had been taking place at the site at Baxter's Farm in Eastleach, Gloucestershire - around 17 miles from where Sian O'Callaghan's body was discovered.

Flowers have been laid by the officers involved in the case next to a wooden cross, with the message: "To an unknown lady, Now you can rest in peace."

A police spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that work to recover a second body at Eastleach has been completed and the scene released.

"Forensic investigations to establish the identity of this young woman are ongoing using DNA and the speed of this identification process relies on whether or not we have her DNA on a database.

"If we don't get a DNA match further investigations will need to be carried out which may take some time.

"The public can be assured that we will of course inform the victim's family wherever possible before releasing any details in the media."

Police are refusing to reveal who they believe the body parts belong to but say they could belong to a woman aged between 23 and 30 , who was abducted in Swindon between 2003 and 2005.

The force has no outstanding missing women from that period.

Yesterday the devastated father of Miss O'Callaghan spoke of the family's grief.

Mick O'Callaghan said his family's pain at hearing of the 22-year-old's death had been "raw and overwhelming".

Speaking at a press conference at Swindon's Gablecross Police Station he described her as "bright, bubbly, caring and friendly".

His statement came hours after angry scenes erupted as the man accused of her murder appeared in court.

A police convoy was attacked outside Swindon Magistrates' Court as minicab driver Christopher Halliwell, 47, appeared in court charged with killing Miss O'Callaghan.

Chief magistrate Angus MacPherson remanded him in custody until tomorrow when he will appear for a bail hearing at Bristol Crown Court.

He will face a full hearing at the same court on April 8. No application for bail was made.

Miss O'Callaghan went missing in the early hours of Saturday March 19 after a night out with girl friends in Swindon.

Her body was discovered 15 miles away, close to the Uffington White Horse, on Thursday last week.

Halliwell was arrested on Thursday at a taxi rank at an Asda supermarket in Swindon.

Police search teams are combing an area of countryside around four miles from the place where Miss O'Callaghan's body was found.

A Wiltshire police spokeswoman said searches at Claypit Lane near Uffington were for items belonging to Miss O'Callaghan that may have been discarded.

Detectives have still not found Miss O'Callaghan's bag, boots, keys or phone.

Last Thursday police appealed for information on items she is thought to have had in her large dark coloured bag with a beige flower on the side.

The items included a patterned front door key, a black car key with yellow insulation tape, a Tesco Clubcard key fob, a yellow Kinder Egg plastic casing containing a small animal with a furry belly and lip gloss.

She is also believed to have been wearing or have with her a DKNY watch with fake diamonds.