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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Have you seen April? Desperate search for girl, 5, 'seen getting into a van' after playing on her bike outside her home

-April Jones got into a grey or light-coloured van, witnesses reported
-Disappeared from Welsh town of Machynlleth at about 7pm on Monday
-Hundreds of local residents take to streets in hunt for missing child
-Police: 'We are becoming increasingly concerned for her safety'
-Posters bearing the message 'Kidnapped' produced to raise awareness
-Cars entering and leaving the town stopped and searched

By HANNAH ROBERTS, EMINE SINMAZ and ROB PREECE

A five-year-old girl playing with a friend near her home was last night abducted after being taken into a stranger’s van.
Police and hundreds of residents searched through the night for April Jones, who went missing from the small town of Machynlleth in Wales.
Detectives say they are becoming 'increasingly concerned' for the girl, who disappeared in the grey or light-coloured vehicle at around 7pm.

Missing: April Jones, 5, who was abducted last night in Machynlleth, Wales

A large number of officers and specialist teams are investigating April's disappearance.
An estimated 200 residents gathered outside the town’s leisure centre while others combed nearby woods and playing fields.
Dyfed Powys Police said today that April was wearing a purple knee-length coat with grey fur around the hood, a white polo shirt and black trousers.
A spokeswoman said: 'Her abduction took place around 7pm in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth.

Emergency: A police officer reads a map as the search for missing five-year-old April Jones continues

'It was witnessed by another young child when April was seen getting into a grey or light-coloured van, or van-sized vehicle.
'While the details of what happened are vague at the current time, it appears the suspect left the scene and drove off with April.
'At the time of her disappearance, April was wearing a purple knee-length coat with grey fur around the hood, her school white polo top and black trousers.
'Many police officers and specialist teams have worked through the night, with extensive searches taking place, and many lines of inquiry are being pursued.'

Concern: Residents meet at Machynlleth leisure centre in Wales to organise a search for the missing girl

Police family liaison officers are also helping the little girl's family, the spokeswoman said.
Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan of Dyfed-Powys Police told Sky News that because the initial account of April's abduction came from children, police were involved in a 'delicate and lengthy process' to get the best information.

Teamwork: Hundreds of residents have been involved in the search operation in Machynlleth in mid Wales

He said: 'Hopefully, later this morning I'll have some more details around the vehicle, specific details, and we are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry around that vehicle, where it may or may not be at this moment in time.'
Mr Bevan asked anyone who was in the area around 7pm last night or who believes they have information to contact police on 0300 2000 333.
Earlier, Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Powell said: 'We are obviously becoming increasing concerned for her (April's) safety and are asking for any one with information to please contact us.'

Community drive: Four members of Machynlleth's junior football team arrive back in the town after searching fields around the River Dyfi for missing girl April Jones

Dog teams have been involved in the operation to find the five-year-old, and cars in and out of the small market town, which has a population of 2,000, were being stopped and searched, police said.
April's disappearance has sparked concern in the local area, as well as further afield.
Hundreds of people from across the UK have already signed up to a dedicated Facebook page in a bid to raise awareness.
Those joining the group are able to download a missing poster, featuring three photographs of the youngster, before sharing it on their profile.
One mother wrote: 'It's every parent's worst nightmare.'

Missing: April Jones, 5, was last seen getting into a stranger's van at about 7pm on Monday

A neighbour, Gwyn Briwnant-Jones, 55, said April, who has a 16-year-old sister and a ten-year-old brother, comes from a loving home.
Her mother Coral, 40, raised the alarm when her daughter failed to return home from riding on her bicycle with her friend nearby.

Appeal: Posters to raise awareness about April's disappearance have been shared on the social networking website Facebook

Mr Briwnant-Jones said: ‘Most of the town has been looking for the little girl.
'April’s mother knew she was playing with another little girl and when she didn’t come home she went to the other girl’s house to look for her.
‘That’s when the girl said April had been taken in a van.’
‘They’re a lovely family,’ he said. ‘They haven’t had any problems that I know of.’
Businessman Shem ap Geraint, who joined the search, said: ‘Pretty much the whole town is out looking. Other local towns are joining in as well.
‘We are searching local woods. The local leisure centre is acting as a base.’
Chris Dudley, who works at the Skinners Arms pub, near the girl’s home, said the bar was deserted last night.

He said: ‘All the locals are looking for her in this area – the cemeteries, the golf field, playing field, everywhere you can think of.‘
There’s no one in [the pub] tonight, everybody is outside looking for her.’
Inspector Kevin Davies said 'every angle' of the investigation was being covered.
He told the BBC that police dog teams were involved in the operation and that cars in and out of the town were being stopped and searched by officers.
A family liaison officer is also keeping the 'devastated' relatives of missing April informed of any developments, Inspector Davies added.
Locals have put up posters of April around the town as part of their search efforts.

Investigation: April Jones's parents are believed to have been at Machynlleth Police Station, waiting for information about their daughter's disappearance

Restaurant owner Razul Islam said neighbours saw the youngster playing outside her doorstep before she vanished.
‘There are hundreds of people out looking for her,’ Mr Islam said.
'It is such a small town and nearly everyone is out looking for her – I’m shocked that it has happened in a town like this.'
Petrol station owner Nerys Zjalic said she had reopened the garage to help with the search.
Ms Zjalic, who runs Reads Garage, told ITV Wales: 'We'll stay open all night if we have to.
'We heard about the search through social networking sites and there was a lot of people going past our house.'
My friend called to ask if we would open so people can get petrol to help in the search. Locals are out in full force searching for her.'

Search: Around 200 people were said to be looking for the girl in the town of Machynlleth (File photo)

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, she said that some people had returned home overnight, but were planning to reconvene their search this morning.
'It just shows the community spirit of the town and how people get together in a crisis to do anything they can to help,' she added.

source: dailymail



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