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Police search for missing 5-year-old girl as 46-year-old man is arrested
Police search for missing 5-year-old girl as 46-year-old man is arrested

The distraught parents of a missing five-year-old girl pleaded with her kidnapper to "Let our beautiful little girl come home to us", as a frantic police search continues.

April Jones has not been seen for two days since she was last seen riding her bike in the small Welsh town of Machynlleth before getting into an unknown white van at dusk.

Police last night arrested a 46-year-old male in connection with the case but were still searching for the girl.

The arrested man, named as Mark Bridger, was in custody as the search for April continued, The Daily Mail reports.

Paul and Coral Jones issued a statement that said: “Last night our lives were shattered when our beautiful little girl April who was playing with friends was taken from us.

"We are devastated and our lives have stopped. Please please if you have our little girl let her come home to us."

Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan said: "April is still missing and all lines of enquiry are continuing with the view that she is still alive."

Mr Bevan said that locating the suspect "had been top of the list" of priorities since soon after April’s disappearance.

He added that the man was being questioned in Aberystwyth and that police were "hopeful that this individual will assist us in locating April who is still missing."

Yesterday afternoon, just as her parents were about to make a public appeal for her safe return, police swooped on Bridger as he walked along a road on the outskirts of the town.

In what officers called a "significant" development in the inquiry, he was arrested on suspicion of abduction and his Land Rover Discovery – which detectives said was of "strong interest" – was recovered soon afterwards at a different location.

Forensic tests were being carried out on the vehicle last night.

A 12-mile stretch of road was closed off outside the 2,000-strong market town as police continue the search.