Man arrested on suspicion of child abduction as missing 12-year-old found ‘safe and well’

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Leona Peach, 12, went missing from her home in Newton Abbot (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA) (PA)
Leona Peach, 12, went missing from her home in Newton Abbot (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA) (PA)

A man has been arrested for allegedly abducting a 12-year-old girl who has been missing since before Christmas.

The man, 34, who is originally from Devon, was arrested on suspicion of child abduction and kidnap during a raid on a property where missing schoolgirl Leona Peach was found.

Leona, who is said to have been discovered safe and well, is now being supported by specialist officers and child services.

She had been reported missing from Newton Abbot in Devon on December 20, having last been seen in the Hele Park area.

Police began looking for her after she was believed to have left home to be with her father.

Officers found Leona at a property in Boston, Lincolnshire, on Thursday.

Leona vanished from Devon on December 20 ((Devon and Cornwall Police/PA))
Leona vanished from Devon on December 20 ((Devon and Cornwall Police/PA))

The man is now being transferred to the Devon and Cornwall Police area for questioning.

In a statement, the force said: “Officers would like to thank the public for their support in helping us locate Ms Peach.”

“Aided by officers from Lincolnshire Police and with support from Devon child services and Lincolnshire child services, units attended and undertook a search of an address near Boston this afternoon and located Leona; she will continue to be supported by specialist officers and child services.

“During the search, police have arrested a 34-year-old man, originally from Devon, on suspicion of child abduction and kidnap.”

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