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'No injuries to suggest anyone else involved' in Gaia Pope death, police say

Three people were arrested and subsequently released without charge during search for the Dorset teenager

Rachel Roberts
Sunday 19 November 2017 22:51 GMT
Gaia Pope's body was found 11 days after she disappeared
Gaia Pope's body was found 11 days after she disappeared (PA)

Police have said there were no injuries to suggest "any other person was involved” in the death of teenager Gaia Pope.

A body police say they are "confident" is that of the 19-year-old was found on Saturday in a field in Swanage in Dorset, close to where she was staying and 11 days after she was last seen.

Although police launched a murder investigation and arrested three people in connection with her disappearance, all three were subsequently released without charge.

Det Supt Paul Kessell said: “The post-mortem examination has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved in her death.

“The cause of death is undetermined, pending toxicology. The coroner is involved in the oversight of these examinations but at this time this remains an investigation into an unexplained death.”

Ms Pope suffered from severe epilepsy and vanished without her medication on 7 November.

She was also said by members of her family to suffer from mental health problems following a “traumatic” incident two years ago.

She failed to go to a GP appointment on the day she disappeared, and was last seen alive buying an ice cream in a garage. She was then captured on CCTV running down the street, apparently in a distressed state.

Her clothing was found on Thursday, close to where her body was found near a coastal path on Saturday.

Her disappearance prompted huge searches, with around 1,000 people turning out to comb the quiet coastal town on Saturday before the discovery her family had dreaded.

Members of her family paid tribute to the “beautiful” and “wise” teenager, who studied health and social care.

Her twin sister Maya said on Facebook: “Can’t find any words right now. Gaia is my everything and I am heartbroken. I thank everyone who was involved in searching for my beautiful twin.”

Her elder sister, Clara Pope-Sutherland, said Gaia was “the light of my life” and an “intelligent, beautiful and emotionally wise” young woman.

Flowers have been left in tribute to the teenager next to the seafront.

Det Supt Kessell warned people of the potential dangers of the coastline.

“I reiterate this area is steep and slippery in an exposed area close to sea cliffs. The area is covered in dense undergrowth and gorse and can present a hazard.

”The area where the body was located is likely to remain cordoned off for some time while forensic examinations and searches are concluded.“

Three members of the same family – all of whom were known to Gaia – were released under investigation after being arrested during the hunt for the teenager.

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