Human remains have been found in the hunt for missing Sarah Everard, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said.
The discovery was made in an area of woodland in Ashford in Kent.
“We have found very sadly what appears to be human remains,” she said.
Ms Dick said: “At this early stage we are not able to confirm any identity and that may take us some considerable time.
“Specialist officers have been with Sarah’s family to update them on the investigation and continue to give them the best support possible.”
The Met Police announced earlier on Wednesday that a diplomatic protection officer held over the disappearance of Sarah Everard has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
The force said the man, who is in his 40s and is part of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was being questioned over suspected kidnap and murder.
Ms Dick said: “The news today that it was a Metropolitan Police officer who was arrested on suspicion of Sarah’s murder has sent shockwaves and anger through the public and through the Met.
“I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that we are utterly appalled at this dreadful, dreadful news.
“Our job is to patrol the streets and to protect people.”
She continued: “The investigation is large, it is very fast moving and extremely determined. We have had and continue to have hundreds of officers and staff working around the clock.”
Ms Dick said Ms Everard’s disappearance “is every family’s worst nightmare” and said people living around Clapham and Tulse Hill could expect to see increased patrols in the area.
The diplomatic protection squad is responsible for guarding the Parliamentary estate including Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster, as well as foreign embassies in London.
The force said previously that the officer’s main job was uniformed patrol of diplomatic premises, but would not specify where he had worked.
It said he had been initially arrested on suspicion of kidnap, and later murder, as well as a separate allegation of indecent exposure.
The arrested officer was not on duty at the time of Ms Everard’s disappearance.
A woman in her 30s was also arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Marketing executive Ms Everard vanished while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on Wednesday March 3.
A police search at an address believed to be the suspect’s home in Freemens Way in Deal saw a tent erected outside and multiple cars were taken away by investigators.
Later, a metal fence was put up surrounding the front garden and driveway.
Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s thoughts are with Ms Everard and her friends and family.
Ms Everard is thought to have walked through Clapham Common towards her house in Brixton – a journey which should have taken around 50 minutes.
She was last captured on a doorbell camera walking along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill at around 9.30pm on March 3.
The case has been referred to watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct because it involves a police officer.
A spokesman said it had been decided that the Metropolitan Police would investigate any potential conduct issues linked to the kidnap and murder allegations itself.
The IOPC is currently assessing whether any further action should be taken in relation to the actions of police after Ms Everard was reported missing.