Hannah Foster disappeared after a night out with a friend in March 2003
An appeal on the BBC's Crimewatch TV programme first linked the man accused of murdering 17-year-old Hannah Foster to her disappearance, a court heard.
Police were given Maninder Pal Singh Kohli's name by one of his bosses at the Southampton delivery firm where he worked, Winchester Crown Court heard.
Hannah Foster disappeared in the city on 14 March 2003 after a night out. Her body was found two days later.
Mr Kohli, 40, denies kidnap, false imprisonment, rape and murder.
Hannah, an A-level student, had been walking a short distance from a bus stop to her home in the Portswood area of the city when she vanished.
Jurors heard a van, allegedly used by Mr Kohli to make sandwich deliveries, was seized by detectives and examined after a phone call made to Crimewatch.
Mr Kohli dumped Hannah's bag and phone in a bottle bank, jurors heard
A chrome pole was found inside the van which featured apparent blood, the court was told.
The court also heard from a recycling plant manager, James McGuire, who spoke of the moment he realised a discarded handbag and mobile phone found at a Portsmouth recycling depot belonged to Hannah.
The items were found the day after Hannah's body was found dumped off Allington Lane, in Southampton, the jury was told.
Students' Union card
The prosecution allege the bag and phone were dumped by Mr Kohli in a bottle bank in Portsmouth.
Mr McGuire told the court he opened the bag and inside was a cinema ticket for the film, The Ring, and a Students' Union card with a photo of Hannah and her name.
"Did the name ring any bells?" he was asked in court.
"It did yes," Mr McGuire said. "I wasn't sure why but it did ring a bell."
Hannah's mobile phone and bag were found at a recycling depot
He later looked at a local newspaper for clarification and realised it was the girl that had gone missing, jurors heard.
He called police and shut down the area around the site.
Earlier in the trial, jurors heard how Hannah used her mobile phone to make a secret 999 call at about 2300 BST on the night she disappeared.
The court heard she hoped the operator would hear her conversation with a man, which the prosecution claim was Mr Kohli.
But the operator could not understand what was being said and a system to prevent accidental calls disconnected Hannah's call after a short time.
The case continues.