POLICE QUIZ 2 OVER MISSING GAIA, 19
AN aspiring actor was questioned yesterday over the suspected murder of a missing teenage girl.
Nathan Elsey, 19, was arrested along with his grandmother Rosemary Dinch, 71, six days after Gaia Pope disappeared.
Gaia, 19, is still missing but detectives fear “she may have come to harm”.
The student, who suffers from epilepsy, was said to be a regular visitor to Mr Elsey’s flat and reportedly knew both relatives well.
Gaia, from Langton Matravers, Dorset, was staying in nearby Swanage when she went missing on November 7. Both Mr Elsey, who appeared as an extra in smash hit film Dunkirk, and Mrs Dinch live in the town in neighbouring flats.
Both were released after questioning yesterday, but are still under investigation.
An hour before her arrest, she told reporters Gaia knocked on her door in distress on the day she went missing.
She said: “There was a sort of ‘help me’ bang – pounding. She didn’t have a seizure, I am quite sure. I am just so pleased because I gave her a cuddle and she responded. I have no idea where she is. She just seems to have disappeared.”
Gaia, whose actress mother Natasha has appeared in Inspector Morse and The Bill, was last seen running close to the pensioner’s home in the seaside town.
CCTV footage showed her looking distressed and confused.
Gaia’s family yesterday vowed to find their “darling girl”. In a statement, they said: “We all love you forever. We miss you beyond words. We will find you.
“The thought of seeing the sunshine of your smile again soon keeps us all going and hoping.” They added: “If
anyone knows where Gaia is, we beg you to let us know.”
Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell said: “We remain hopeful that we’ll find her alive and that a member of the public will give us information which will help us to locate Gaia safe and well.
“Any information, no matter how small, could be very important as we look to locate her. We have a duty to explore every possible line of inquiry.”
Mr Elsey studied drama at Brockenhurst College, Hampshire, and lives with his mother Debbie.
According to a neighbour, he and Gaia were good friends.
Police stood guard outside both flats yesterday.
Forensic officers were seen going in and out and, at one stage, two sniffer dogs were taken inside Mrs Dinch’s flat.
Gaia, who has a twin sister, lives with her mother about a mile-and-ahalf from the scene of the police searches yesterday.
The teenager, who is studying health and social care, had recently been staying with a relative in Swanage.
When she was last seen, she was said to be wearing a red checked shirt with white buttons, grey and white leggings and white trainers.
Forensic officers at flat yesterday
Student Gaia Pope, 19, is still missing
Actor Nathan Elsey, 19
Rosemary Dinch, 71