Police searching for missing midwife Samantha Eastwood say they have found a body.
Staffordshire Constabulary said on Saturday that three men are in custody in connection with the 28-year-old midwife’s disappearance.
A 32-year-old man who was previously released on bail has been rearrested for murder. Two other men, aged 28 and 60, were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
“The discovery today is not what anyone wanted, and this is now a homicide investigation,” said detective superintendent Simon Duffy from the force’s Major and Organised Crime Department.
The body has not yet been formally identified and forensic teams are at the scene with a post-mortem due to take place in due course, the police said.
Ms Eastwood had last been seen on the morning of 27 July leaving the Royal Stoke University Hospital and the alarm was raised when she did not return for her night shift that evening.
Specialist search teams had cordoned off parts of Caverswall village in rural Staffordshire and were searching around the clock in fields near the village – which is about 10 miles from Stoke-on-Trent.
The body discovered on Saturday was within the cordoned off area.
Though the body has not been identified by police, Liz Rix, chief nurse at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said on social media: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our friend and colleague Samantha Eastwood.
“Sam will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with her family and friends during this time.”
She had worked at the Royal Stoke for six years and was a ”much loved and valued” member of the maternity team, Ms Rix added.
Ms Eastwood’s neighbours have already come forward to report hearing a scream in the vicinity of her house around 2pm on the day she went missing.
Police previously said they were seeking the midwife’s missing purse and said her car was found parked on the driveway at her house.
Detectives added that Ms Eastwood left her bank cards at home and was believed to have “no access to money”.
It emerged this week that Ms Eastwood had been engaged to be married, but that the relationship had been broken off earlier in the year.