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Murder arrest over missing April
April Jones, five, went missing in Machynlleth, mid Wales, on Monday evening (Dyfed-Powys Police/PA)
The man being held by police searching for missing five-year-old April Jones is now being questioned about her murder, it has been announced.
The grim news was revealed by Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan at a press conference in Aberystwyth.
He said: "Mark Bridger has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of April Jones. He remains in custody at Aberystwyth Police Station where he continues to be questioned.
"The arrest does not detract from our efforts to find April and we remain committed to finding her. Her family has been informed of this development and as you would expect they continue to be supported by a family liaison officer.
"While this is a significant development in the investigation, I once again appeal to the public for information which may help us find April. "We are looking to trace the movements of Mark Bridger between 6.30pm on Monday and 3.30pm on Tuesday and any sightings of him between these times. We also need information regarding the movements of the blue Land Rover Discovery registration L503 MEP between these times."
Superintendent Ian John acknowledged again that volunteer searchers had played a "vital part" in the hunt for April so far.
But the dynamic has changed with the announcement that Mr Bridger is now being held on suspicion of murder, he said. Searches will continue but the focus has inevitably changed from looking for a live child to one of looking for a body.
Bridger, 46, was arrested on Tuesday, a day after April disappeared while playing near her home in Machynlleth, west Wales. April was seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate at 7pm on Monday.
Bridger, from Machynlleth, drives a Land Rover Discovery which was seized from a local repair garage on Tuesday and fast-tracked for forensic examination. Detectives have until this afternoon to question him - unless they apply for a further warrant of detention.
At the press conference Superintendent Ian John said that because of the "significant development" it was no longer appropriate for the many volunteers who had joined the hunt for April to continue searching.