Body thought to be that of Kayleigh Haywood, 15, removed from undergrowth


Police have removed a body from undergrowth in a Leicestershire park which is believed to be that of missing teenager Kayleigh Haywood.

The 15-year-old, from Measham, had not been seen since 6pm on Friday November 13, when she was dropped off outside Ibstock Community College in Central Avenue.

Officers from across the region were brought in to help with the search, and a body was found in Ibstock at 10pm on Wednesday.

Leicestershire Police said formal identification is yet to take place, but they believe it is the missing teenager.

Police have been seen entering and leaving the area around Sence Valley Forest Park throughout the day and at lunchtime a body was removed from the scene.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out to determine the cause of death, and a detailed forensic examination of the area where the body was found will take place today.

Just hours before the discovery of the body, Kayleigh's parents made an emotional appeal to the public to come forward with information, saying: "We just need to know what has happened to our baby girl."

In a statement, Stephanie Haywood and Martin Whitby added: "It is breaking our hearts and we are shedding tear after tear.

"We love Kayleigh so much and without her our family is incomplete. A big part of our lives has gone."

Reverend Roy Monks, minister of Ibstock Baptist Church, said members of the family had been left "numb" by the discovery of a body.

He said: "Whilst we hoped against hope that this was not the news we would be receiving today, a body had been found which was likely to be Kayleigh's body.

"The community is devastated, we are all devastated, but we are determined that we want to stand with Kayleigh and her family at this very, very difficult time.

"Sadly, today a young girl is not going home with her family and the family are absolutely beside themselves and the community equally is a grieving community.

"She was a bright, bubbly girl, a typical teenager. A very bubbly, nice young girl. I'm sure she brought sunshine into the lives of all who knew her."

Two men, aged 27 and 28, who were arrested in the early hours of Monday morning on suspicion of kidnap and who were yesterday rearrested on suspicion of murder, remain in police custody.

An application was granted by magistrates this morning to hold them for a further and final 24 hours.

Detective Chief Superintendent David Sandall, head of crime for Leicestershire Police, said: "From the evidence available to us, we believe that the body found is Kayleigh.

"Understanding the events leading up to her death, and precisely how she died, is clearly our focus, as is providing whatever support we can to Kayleigh's parents, brothers and sister at this desperately bleak time for them.

"Last night many members of the community came together for a vigil and I know that this demonstration of support and care for Kayleigh's family will continue to be shown in the days, weeks and months to come.

"It remains vital that anyone who has any information at all about where Kayleigh has been since she was last seen outside the Ibstock Community College in Central Avenue, Ibstock, on Friday night and who has, for whatever reason, not yet come forward, does so without delay. We need to understand where she went and what has happened to her."

On the High Street in Measham, traders and shoppers said the discovery of a body had saddened the community.

One business owner, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's a very sad time for everyone.

"We all did our bit in trying to help - someone came in and asked if we could put stickers up saying For Kayleigh, and of course we did."

Tracey White, 60, from the village, added: "It's a close community here. Everyone knows someone who knows Kayleigh and you could see the purple ribbons everywhere.

"It's a sad time, but the community helped in the search and they will help and support the family now."

A vigil will be held at St Laurence's Church in Measham at 6pm.

Kayleigh studied at Ashby College, and headteacher Eddie Green paid tribute to the teenager.

He said: "Kayleigh was a lively and fun-loving girl in her final GCSE year who had started Year 11 with a real determination to be successful.

"It would appear that this opportunity has sadly been taken away from her."

David Phillips, principal at Ibstock Community College where Kayleigh studied until 2013, said she would be remembered "with fondness".

He added: "The college community has greeted with great sadness the news that a body was discovered in the early hours of this morning. Our thoughts are with Kayleigh's family, friends and all in our wider community."