Police officers in London have found “what appear to be human remains” in the search for Sarah Everard, the 33-year-old woman who disappeared in London earlier this month, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said Wednesday.
The remains have not been identified.
“This evening detectives and search teams investigating Sarah’s disappearance have very sadly discovered what we believe at this stage to be human remains,” Dick said in a televised press conference.
She added that the discovery was made in “an area of woodland” in Ashford, Kent, an area in southeast England.
A serving London Metropolitan Police officer was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of murder and a separate allegation of indecent exposure, police said in an earlier statement on Wednesday.
The officer remains in custody at a London police station, police said.
“I speak on behalf of all my colleagues… when I say we are utterly appalled at this dreadful news. Our job is to patrol the streets and to protect people,” Dick said.
Everard was last seen on March 3 in Clapham, south London.
He is a serving Metropolitan Police officer in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, the Met said in a statement Wednesday. His “primary role was uniformed patrol duties of diplomatic premises,” it added.
Officers are searching locations in London and Kent, including a property in the town of Deal and an area of woodland near Ashford, the statement said.
“A woman, who is aged in her 30s, was also arrested on the evening of 9 March on suspicion of assisting an offender. She remains in custody,” police added.
“We will continue to work with all speed on this investigation but the fact that the arrested man is a serving Metropolitan Police officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing,” Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said, speaking after the arrests Tuesday.
Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin said: “This is a significant development in our inquiry. This is a fast moving investigation and we are doing everything we can to find Sarah.”
“All women and girls should be able to feel safe on the street of London at all times,” Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in a statement released Wednesday.
“I know how shocked and worried Londoners are by Sarah’s disappearance and the developments in the case.”
“Londoners will continue to see more police officers on our streets continuing their investigation and carrying out reassurance patrols in our area where Sarah went missing a week ago.”
The Metropolitan Police has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct following the officer’s arrest.