Hundreds join search for Gaia Pope in countryside

Hundreds of people have joined the search for missing teenager Gaia Pope, scouring countryside and coastline in Dorset.

Her father Richard Sutherland has been part of the search and has thanked members of the public who have been helping in the area around Swanage.

Gaia, who has severe epilepsy, has been missing for 11 days, and clothes belonging to the 19-year-old were found on Thursday in a field near cliffs.

Standing on a rock and speaking to crowds in Durlston Country Park, Mr Sutherland said: "I just want to say a massive thank you for coming out. It is very heart warming and the support gives us a lot of hope."

Three people - a 71-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man and a 49-year-old man - have been arrested on suspicion of murder and released under investigation.

Gaia's mother Natasha has appealed for more help in finding her daughter, posting a message on the Find Gaia Facebook page.

She wrote: "I believe in this community and I believe miracles can happen.

"I am holding onto hope, along with Gaia's sisters and the whole family who are my strength."

"Please hold on with us. My eternal thanks to everyone who is out there searching for my little girl.

"Please come out over the weekend and do what you can. Every one of you makes a difference."

Mr Sutherland has said he feared his daughter's epilepsy may have played a part in her disappearance as she had been warned by doctors that she was at risk of sudden death from the condition.

Miss Pope has not been seen since about 4pm on 7 November in Manor Gardens, Swanage.

Forensic investigations have concluded at two properties in Manor Gardens, which are believed to be the homes of the 71-year-old woman and 19-year-old man who were arrested.

:: Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 16:301. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org.

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