The investigation into the murder of PCSO Julia James is continuing this weekend with police considering “all possible” motives.
Ms James’s family pleaded for anyone with information about her murder to help get “justice for Julia” on Friday as police revealed they have no motive or suspects.
Ms James died from serious head injuries while out walking her dog and her body was found in woods close to her home in the village of Snowdown, near Dover in Kent, on Tuesday.
On Saturday, police officers could be seen searching the verges of the woods where Ms James was found.
A white police tent had been erected nearby.
In a touching tribute released on Friday, her family recalled the 53-year-old community support officer’s “beautiful smile” and “brilliant sense of humour”.
They said in a statement: “There are no words to adequately describe the void left in our lives by the death of our mum.
“She was so much to so many people; a wife, mother, daughter, nanny, sister and a friend.
“Mum was fiercely loyal, she loved with her whole heart and nothing was too much trouble for the people she cared about.”
They added: “Her loss will be felt by us every moment of every day. She will be so sorely missed. As a family we are trying to understand how we will navigate our lives without her, it seems an impossible task.”
Ms James’s family said they had “every confidence” that police were doing “everything within their power to find the person responsible” and urged anyone with information to contact officers.
“You could be helping us get justice for Julia,” the statement added.
At a press conference on Friday, Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Tom Richards urged members of the public to be “vigilant” and “aware of their surroundings”.
He declined to rule out that Ms James was killed by a stranger, someone she came across during her work, someone trying to steal her dog, or as part of a sexual assault.
Mr Richards would not comment on any potential murder weapon and also declined to say whether detectives had found signs of a struggle.
Ms James’s body was found just “a few hundred yards from her house”, he said.
Mr Richards said: “We do not at this stage have any identified suspects; we are keeping all options open to us while we fully investigate the circumstances of this matter and try to understand fully what happened.”
Ms James’s death has led to an outpouring of grief, as well as concern in a local community which is less than three miles from the village of Chillenden, where Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan were murdered in a savage attack while out walking their dogs in July 1996.
Ms James joined Kent Police in 2008 as a crime reduction PCSO and more recently had supported victims of domestic abuse based at Canterbury police station.