Jayden update, Saturday, 4pm: Police say this is now a murder investigation + Audio recording from the press conference (From Herald Series)
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Jayden Parkinson update: Police say this is now a murder investigation
DETECTIVES have today said their investigation into the disappearance of Jayden Parkinson has become a murder investigation.
Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Murray has just held a press conference at which he said hopes of finding the 17-year-old alive were fading.
He added Jayden's family, who live in Didcot, were distraught but hopeful she may be found.
Jayden went missing on Tuesday, December 3, after leaving a hostel in Iffley Road, Oxford, where she was staying. She travelled by train from the city to Didcot, the town where he family lived.
Police have today revealed their investigation is focussing on finding a man seen in the village of Upton, near Didcot, who was struggling with a large suitcase in the early hours of Monday, December 9.
Police are saying they do not know if Jayden's body was in that suitcase.
Today Det Chf Supt Murray said: "Yesterday I said that this was a missing person's inquiry. Today I am now going to say this is a murder investigation, but a murder investigation where we still have not recovered the body of Jayden.
"The father in me would like to think that Jayden is still out there but I am afraid the detective in me leads me to conclude that Jayden may well have been murdered and that's why we have approximately 50 detectives out there still trying to find Jayden, still trying to find evidence that might lead to someone being convicted if she has been murdered."
- Listen to the full press conference
Officers are combing the area around Upton, including a cycle track that includes part of a disused rail line that leads from the village up to Didcot.
Yesterday Det Chf Supt Murray said officers were appealing for anyone who saw anything suspicious around Upton on the night of Sunday, December 8, leading into the Monday morning. Then he could not give details as to why they were concentrating on that date, five days after Jayden was last seen.
Today he said it was because a witness had see a man struggling in the area with a large suitcase.
Det Chf Murray said: "In the early hours of Monday, the 9th of December, about 2am (a witness) saw a man with a large suitcase in that rural area. The suitcase was large, it was heavy, it was difficult to manage and that man was having difficulty removing that suitcase from that area.
"Now we know the same man with the same suitcase was seen in Didcot about half an hour later in the Lydalls Road area near to the junction with Foxhalls Lane.
"So around about 2.30am he's there, same suitcase, same man. We would like to know where that suitcase is and we would like to hear from anybody who may have seen that man in that area with that suitcase.
"The man is described as in his early 20s, about 20 years old, he is young, white, he's about 5ft 6in, 5ft 7in tall, he's medium to slim build. He's got short dark hair and was probably wearing light coloured jeans.
"The suitcase is described as about 3ft by 2ft, about 15in deep, it's light coloured, probably made of canvas material and probably pale blue in colour. It's on wheels, it's got an extendable handle, two silver bars with a black handle and this man was having difficulty actually wheeling that suitcase.
"So if anybody out there saw him around that time in that rural area, we would like to hear from them."
Det Chf Supt Murray said searches were continuing at several places around Didcot that were linked to Jayden and one of the two men arrested by them were associated with.
Police had also recovered a large recycling bin from the former Crown pub in Queensway that is being examined for evidence of Jayden's clothing or anyone else's clothing.
He added: "That is a difficult and challenging task that we are undertaking at the moment."
Det Chf Supt Murray said nothing had so far been found in Upton but because of the scale of the area, officers may be searching there for up to a week.
"We have got specialiset search teams who will be working hard in that area to narrrow the search parameters down," he said.
A 22-year-old was arrested on suspicion of murder on Thursday night and a Superintendent has given detectives permission to hold him until tomorrow evening. A 17-year-old was also arrested on Friday on suspicion of murder.
Asked how Jayden's family, who lives close to one of the properties being searched, were, Det Chf Supt Murray said: "They are distraught. They have still got hope but they are distraught and they want their daughter to come home."
Jayden is white, of slim build with shoulder length dark brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information can call Det Chf Supt Murray on the police non-emergency number 101.
We shall also be uploading an audio recording of the press conference shortly.