Midweek Sport - - FRONT PAGE - By JUSTIN DUNN

A MAN was ar­rested as the search for miss­ing five-yearold April Jones in­ten­si­fied.

The 46-year-old was held fol­low­ing a des­per­ate ap­peal for the pub­lic’s help by the po­lice of­fi­cer lead­ing the hunt.

April “will­ingly” got into a van with a stranger in Machyn­l­leth, Wales, on Mon­day evening – spark­ing a huge search in­volv­ing po­lice and res­i­dents.

Det Supt Reg Be­van of Dyfed Powys Po­lice said the man was ar­rested in the area and was be­ing ques­tioned in Aberys­t­wyth.

He said po­lice were “hope­ful that this in­di­vid­ual will as­sist us in lo­cat­ing April, who is still miss­ing”, adding: “All lines of en­quiry are con­tin­u­ing with the view that April is still alive.”

Her dis­tressed par­ents Co­ral, 40, and Paul, 43, who were “be­side them­selves with worry”, were yes­ter­day be­ing com­forted by of­fi­cers.


De­tec­tives said that they were be­com­ing “in­creas­ingly con­cerned” for the girl, who dis­ap­peared in the grey or light-coloured ve­hi­cle at around 7pm.

Road­blocks were set up and a 25-mile ra­dius search was launched, while of­fi­cers spoke to April’s friend – the only wit­ness to the ab­duc­tion.

Vol­un­teers from the lo­cal community pulled to­gether in their hun­dreds to help with a mass po­lice-or­gan­ised search, with groups for dif­fer­ent ar­eas of 20 peo­ple led by an ex­pert.

Re­ports said those tak­ing part were told not to pick up any piece of child’s cloth­ing they dis­cov­ered in case it yielded key foren­sic clues.

Det Supt Be­van of said de­tec­tives were also in­ter­view­ing April’s other friends, in what he called a “del­i­cate process”.

A neigh­bour said: “She is the ap­ple of her par­ents’ eyes – in Welsh we call her ‘cariad bach’, a lit­tle dar­ling. They are lovely peo­ple.”

A long stretch of the A487 from Machyn­l­leth north­wards was closed off yes­ter­day in both direc­tions as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, po­lice said.

The Traf­fic Wales web­site said the area around the Dyfi bridge would be closed “un­til fur­ther notice”.

Of the ar­rested man, Det Supt Be­van said: “We knew who we were look­ing for. We’ve been anx­ious to trace him and speak to him.”

MISS­ING: April got into van around 7pm on Mon­day

HUNT: Lo­cals join in search for girl

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