'We're desperate for any news': Mother makes plea for help to find missing April Jones as police release photo of arrested man

Coral Jones begged for any information that may lead to her five-year-old daughter being found at a press conference this afternoon.

The hunt for April Jones was scaled up tonight with hundreds of specialist search officers brought in to find the five year-old missing for more than two days after she was abducted while playing with friends.

Police said the effort, in treacherous conditions, was unprecedented in Britain and was focused on 20 key areas including houses, outbuildings, a fast-flowing river and open land near the mid-Wales town of Machynlleth.

Officers were last night given an extra 12 hours to question the main suspect, Mark Bridger, who has been interrogated twice since his arrest on Tuesday afternoon. They will then decide whether to apply to a court for a warrant to detain him further.

However, they declined to be drawn on whether he has provided useful information about the search. Tests were still being carried out on his Land Rover Discovery, which was left with a local garage less than 24 hours after the girl went missing.

The extra time given to officers to question Mr Bridger came after April's mother, Coral, 40, made a tearful appeal yesterday morning for help in finding her daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy and requires daily medication.

Ms Jones sobbed as she said: "There must be someone out there who knows where she is . We are desperate for any news. April is only five years old. Please, please, help find her."

Child witnesses said April got into a car from the Bryn-y-Gog estate on Monday afternoon while she was playing near her house. Mr Bridger, a father-of-five who moved to the area more than 20 years ago, knew April's family and had children living on the same estate.

Much of the search yesterday was focused close to the fast-flowing River Dyfi, amid warnings that anyone that had gone into the swollen river could have been swept far downstream.

Two lifeboat vessels were also involved in the operation, said Superintendent Ian John of Dyfed Powys police.

In what were described as treacherous conditions after heavy rain, more than 100 mountain rescue volunteers were working with dozens of specialist police search officers and 20 dog handlers. Mr John said the scale of the search was "unprecedented in the UK". "This is a growing operation and in no way are we scaling back our search. We're completely focused and committed to finding April," he said.

Mr Bridger was arrested walking by a road close to the town. The 46-year-old has been questioned in Aberystwyth, the centre of police operations.

"Clearly our focus in those interview has to be finding April," said Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan, adding: "We're clearly looking into Mark Bridger's past and that's part of the profile I'm building up on him."

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam