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EDITIONS
Sunday, 18 August, 2002, 00:34 GMT 01:34 UK
Bodies found in missing girls inquiry
Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr
The couple can be held for 96 hours without charge
Police searching for missing girls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman have found two bodies near Mildenhall in Suffolk.

Two men and a woman made the grim discovery while out walking at a beauty spot about seven miles away from where the girls vanished in Soham, Cambridgeshire, on 4 August.

Police believe the bodies, which were found in a copse, are those of the 10-year-olds though they have yet to be formally identified.

Holly Wells (left) and Jessica Chapman
Holly and Jessica pictured on the day they went missing

School caretaker, Ian Huntley, 28, and his girlfriend Maxine Carr, 25, were arrested in the early hours of Saturday on suspicion of murdering Holly and Jessica.

Mr Huntley is also being held on suspicion of abducting both girls.

The girls' parents have been informed of the latest developments and family liaison officers are with them.

The bodies were found in a small area of woodland near a remote track surrounded by fen and farmland close to RAF Lakenheath airbase. Early on Sunday evening detectives said they were moving the bodies to nearby Addenbrookes Hospital for further examination.


Tears cannot bring you back to us, still the rivers of tears will flow. Rest in peace little angels

Tribute left outside a Soham church

Earlier Detective Chief Inspector Andy Hebb said items of "major interest" had been discovered at Soham Village College, where Mr Huntley worked.

He said forensic examinations of these items would take place at the scene.

The couple were arrested at around 0400 BST and taken to separate police stations in Cambridgeshire where they are being interviewed.

Mr Huntley had previously told police he had spoken to the girls on the evening they went missing.

Search continues

Police can hold the pair for up to 72 hours without charge then must apply to magistrates for an extension of a further 24 hours.

Meanwhile, searches are continuing at Soham Village College, the girls' primary school St Andrews and Mr Huntley's caretaker's cottage.

It was at the college only hours before that the girls' parents had publicly appealed to any abductors holding their daughters to give them back.

Detectives had already spent almost seven hours questioning Mr Huntley and Ms Carr at separate police stations on Friday.

Mr Huntley, a site manager at the college for the past nine months, and Ms Carr, a former teaching assistant in the girls' class, had voluntarily given witness statements.

The pair also agreed for their home, which is in the grounds of the college, to be searched on Friday.

The house was one of the last places Holly and Jessica were seen the day they went missing.

On Saturday, the home and grounds of Mr Huntley's father Kevin, in Littleport, which is about 10 miles from Soham, were also cordoned off to allow police to carry out a search.

The girls' head teacher broke down in tears as he told how he felt numb when he heard about the arrests.

Geoff Fisher said: "I have been clinging for the last two weeks to the hope that Jessica and Holly would be found alive, clinging to the hope that they would be starting school in September in their final year at St Andrew's".

Police officer searching area near Brandon in Suffolk
Police are combing the area where the bodies were found

Soham Methodist minister Alan Ashton said the community was grief-stricken and the girls' parents had been plunged into "an abyss of darkness".

"It is the absolute awful scenario and the emptiness in their homes will be so intense at this moment."

Outside St Andrew's Church in Soham, two single flowers placed with others were accompanied by a card which read: "Jessica and Holly. May God hold you both gently in his hands as you sleep.

"Tears cannot bring you back to us, still the rivers of tears will flow. Rest in peace little angels."

Jessica and Holly's disappearances sparked one of Britain's biggest manhunts, involving more than 400 officers from 21 forces. More than 14,000 calls have been made to police since the case opened 13 days ago.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Helen Callaghan
"The search is still continuing"
Crime Scenes Investigator Paul Millen
"The weather is a difficulty"
DCI Andy Hebb, Cambridgeshire Police
"We have to make sure we carefully assess the scene"

Click here to go to Cambridgeshire


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