'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."

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

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk