UK & World News
Missing April: Family Appeal For Her Safe Return
The family of five-year-old April Jones say they are "shattered" by her disappearance and have appealed for her safe return.
A 46-year-old man - named by Sky sources as Mark Bridger - has been arrested on suspicion of her abduction. Police said they had been "actively looking for him".
Detectives said the search is continuing for the little girl who was last seen playing on her bicycle with friends near her home in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth, mid Wales, at around 7pm on Monday.
She was last spotted by another child getting into a grey or light-coloured van - similar to a Ford Transit Connect or Land Rover-type vehicle.
A statement released on behalf of her parents, Paul, 43, and Coral, 40, said their "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," the statement said. "Please, please if you have our little girl, let her come home to us."
Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said they are examining the arrested man's left-hand drive Land Rover Discovery.
He said the suspect is a local man and was walking by the side of the road, a couple of miles outside the small town, when he was seized at around 3.30pm.
Detectives were due to interview the suspect at Aberystwyth Police Station.
A massive search has been under way since April went missing. Overnight, police set up roadblocks around the town and checked cars. Two helicopters have been scouring the area along with dogs.
Hundreds of residents have been helping in the search and are co-ordinating their efforts at the Machynlleth Leisure Centre.
Superintendent Ian John said specialist police officers and mountain rescue would be searching through last night.
"We ask the public to take this opportunity to have some rest and if they're available to consider coming and helping us again (on Wednesday)," he said. "The residents have really shown themselves to be a very close-knit and kind hearted community."
April has a brother Harley, who is nine or ten, and a 16-year-old sister Jasmine, who has also been helping with the search.
Her godmother Mair Raftree, 41, from Aberystwyth, wept as she told Sky News about the family's distress. She said they are hoping "April will be returned safe and well".
She added: "She's lovely, she's got a nice little character. We just want her back."
Police are also looking at whether her disappearance is linked to another attempted abduction in the Aberystwyth area a week ago.
April was wearing a purple knee-length coat with grey fur around the hood, a white polo top, and black trousers, when she was abducted.
A huge appeal has been launched on Twitter, with many celebrities tweeting and re-tweeting the message. Her poster is also being circulated on Facebook.
During an earlier news conference, Mr Bevan said April got into the driver's side of the van. It means she could have got in with the driver or the vehicle was a left-hand drive.
"The indications are that she got into the vehicle willingly ... It's very difficult to give an exact account of what happened. There's nothing to suggest at this stage that there was a struggle when she got into the car," he said.
He also emphasised the difficulties of getting accurate information from the young children who were playing with April when she disappeared.
:: Police have asked anyone with information to call them on 0300 200 0333.
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what do you think?
Please turn up safe.
I hate to think why this man was already known to police ???? And why they have been looking for him since last night ????
Pls turn up safe. Love and best wishes to the family
Praying for your safe return sweetie. Thinking of your parents at this time x
Why were they already looking for this man? Hope they find April soon x
Steven Ellis Cooper
When are the powers of this country going to make sure that 1 we know as a community who these weirdos are 2 bring back the death penalty because by doing these things you will protect our children from monsters like this... All i hope and pray to God is that they find that little girl safe and sound .......
could he not be known by the child. parents always say do not get into a stangers vehilce. yet no struggle? no attempt to get away?
the police need to find out family background!
is her brother 9 or 10 at this stage someone should know ,not that it makes any differance to the serch for her,and why was this man already known by the police is he the local pedo .
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Apparently, April got into a left hand drive vehicle (worked out from statements from the other children because of the direction the vehicle was facing and the side into which she climbed). As the suspect apparently drives a left hand drive vehicle, this is rumoured to be why he was being hunted. His estranged son claims he had never previously harmed anyone, which would suggest a clean record - but only as far as he knows, addmittedly - though he HAS been arrested. One has to wonder, but I'm reserving judgement, just in case. I also fear that IF the guy is guilty and April is alive, then he needs to do some talking.