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Saturday, 25 August, 2001, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Leanne police in finger-tip search
Leanne Tiernan
Leanne Tiernan went missing in November
Police are continuing a finger-tip search of a woodland area in their hunt for the killer of schoolgirl Leanne Tiernan.

The decomposed body of the 16-year-old was found in dense woodland at Lindley Wood, North Yorkshire by a man walking his dog on Monday.

It's going to be a long, painful search

Det Supt Chris Gregg

The teenager disappeared last November on her way home from a Christmas shopping trip to Leeds with a friend.

Detective Superintendent Chris Gregg of West Yorkshire Police warned the painstaking search could take a number of weeks.

He said: "It's going to be a long, painful search. We have to make sure if there's anything left behind by the killer we find it."

Officers, forensic and scientific experts were among the 50 people searching the plantation area where her body was found, he added.

Detectives expect to comb the area of 20,000 square metres over the coming weeks.

Decomposed

Police said the teenager, from Bramley, had been encased in nine bin bags and her body wrapped in a quilt cover.

She had been strangled.

Mr Gregg also appealed on Saturday for help in catching Leanne's killer.

He said: "The person responsible for this is going to be showing signs of concern or anxiety since the news of this murder broke.

"We intend to maintain that pressure and keep the stress levels high."

Mother's anguish

Leanne's mother, Sharon Hawkhead, believes her daughter knew her murderer.
Sharon Hawkhead
Leanne's mother Sharon Hawkhead

In an interview with the Yorkshire Post newspaper she said: "It could be someone we like and trust, or just somebody Leanne has mentioned in passing, but it is somebody she knows - I am convinced of that," she said.

She said her daughter was "no saint, but no worse than any other teenager".

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The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"The police incident room will be staffed over Christmas, in case there is a sighting"
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