Police have recovered what is believed to be a human leg from a lake in east London, and said it could be linked to the disappearance of a man more than two weeks ago.
Scotland Yard said officers were called to White Hart Lakes in Dagenham last night after a member of the public reported seeing an item floating in the water.
The object was recovered and is now thought to be a human leg. It has been sent to undergo forensic tests.
Police investigating the whereabouts of 39-year-old Neill Buchel, from Dagenham, said they have informed the man’s family of the development, adding that it is nonetheless too early to confirm whether or not the incidents are linked.
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Jones, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, appealed for anyone who had seen suspicious activity at the lakes over recent weeks to come forward.
Mr Buchel went missing from Braintree Road, Dagenham, on 13 March, and police believe he was involved in an altercation with a group of men when he was with a friend in Heath Park, Dagenham, at about 3pm on the day he disappeared.
Police were called and a 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of public order offences and issued with a penalty notice for disorder.
Mr Buchel is thought to have returned with others to an address in Stansgate Road which he frequented, but since then has made no contact with his friends or family - including his estranged partner and two daughters - which was described as being out of character.
Police said his estranged partner reported him missing at 8.30pm on 18 March.
Det Ch Insp Jones added: “We are appealing for anyone who saw that earlier altercation or anyone who has information about may have happened to Mr Buchel to please come forward and assist with our enquiries.
“We have not found Mr Buchel but we believe he has come to significant harm. It is highly unlikely he would not have contacted his friends and family as he regularly did if he was still OK.”
Three men, two aged 35 and one aged 41, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and bailed to a date in late April.