Family’s plea to continue hunt for teenager as two are arrested
POLICE investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl have questioned a 19-year-old aspiring actor and his 71-year-old grandmother on suspicion of murder, as her family urged people to continue looking for her.
Gaia Pope, 19, from Langton Matravers in Dorset, was staying at a relation’s home in Swanage when she went missing on the afternoon of Nov 7.
Yesterday morning, Dorset Police arrested Nathan Elsey, a friend of Miss Pope, and Rosemary Dinch, his grandmother, in connection with the disappearance. Mr Elsey, who is studying drama, was an extra in Dunkirk, the Second World War film that was released in July.
Mrs Dinch said Miss Pope had visited her house in an agitated state around the time she disappeared. Speaking to reporters before her arrest, she described how Miss Pope had banged on her front door asking for help.
She said: “She looked upset. Very upset. I am just so pleased because I gave her a cuddle and then she responded. Of course I want to find her and I have no idea where she is. She just seems to have disappeared.”
After questioning the pair, police released them under investigation.
Dozens of local people have been involved in the search for Miss Pope – who suffers from severe epilepsy and was not thought to have her medication with her when she went missing.
In a statement last night, her family urged people not to give up hope, despite the developments in the police investigation. They said: “The massive effort to find Gaia has been great comfort in what everyone will understand is a deeply worrying and scary experience for all who love Gaia so deeply.
“We understand that the police continue to investigate all possible scenarios, and we want to emphasise that the search for Gaia continues.”
The statement went on: “We are aware of the arrests that have taken place but want to emphasise that these must not put a stop to the search until or unless there is a definite conclusion. If anyone knows where Gaia is we beg you to let us know.”
‘We are aware of the arrests but these must not put a stop to the search unless there is a definite conclusion’
“To Gaia. We all love you forever. We miss you beyond words. We will find you darling girl. The thought of seeing the sunshine of your smile again soon keeps us all going and hoping.”
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Devoto, who is leading the investigation, said previously: “Her disappearance is completely out of character and, following our extensive inquiries, we sadly now believe that she may have come to harm.
“We have not yet found Gaia and our searches will continue.”
Gaia was last seen at an address in Manor Gardens in Morrison Road, Swanage, at about 4pm on Nov 7.
She was said to be wearing a red checked shirt with white buttons, grey and white woven leggings and white trainers at the time.
Detectives have arrested a 19-year-old man and his grandmother on suspicion of the murder of Gaia Pope, above