A teenage girl found dead after she vanished on the anniversary of VE Day was previously in an online relationship with an older man, it was claimed yesterday.
The body of the 16-year-old, named locally as Louise Smith, was discovered on Thursday in woodland in Havant Thicket, a mile and a half from her home in Havant, Hants.
The 16-year-old has not been formally identified but police have informed her family and said the death is being treated as "suspicious".
Yesterday, forensic officers searched a property where it is thought the teenager had been living temporarily after leaving her family home.
One woman who lives nearby said: "We had sniffer dogs yesterday. There's been a huge police presence and they've been bringing loads out." The teenager had previously been in an online relationship with an older man, according to one person who said they were a friend of the family.
Louise's last reported sighting was around midday on May 8 on Somborne Drive, just five minutes' walk from her home. It is understood she may have been heading to a skatepark three miles away in Emsworth, and had told friends she would be back later.
Since then officers have been scouring the area including woodland and a nearby lake.
On Wednesday police released CCTV images showing Louise visiting a Tesco store on the evening of May 7.
Earlier this week Hampshire Constabulary said mobile phone footage of VE Day celebrations filmed in Havant could be key to their investigation and urged anyone with footage to come forward. A man and a woman, both aged 29, were arrested last weekend on suspicion of kidnap and were later released on bail.
Det Chief Supt Scott Mackechnie said: "We know that news of this discovery will be very upsetting for the community, so I want to reassure you that we will be working around the clock to establish what has happened.
"In the meantime we're asking the community not to speculate on the circumstances, and instead provide all information to the police."