IT WAS the news everyone was dreading.
On December 14, 2013, Jayden Parkinson’s family had to be told that the police search for their daughter had become a murder inquiry.
At the time Detective Chief Superintendent Andrew Murray, head of force crime for Thames Valley Police, said the family were understandably distraught but were clinging to the hope that she may still be found alive.
He said: “It was a difficult decision to tell Jayden’s family and the public that we believed we were looking for her body.
“The family clung to some hope that she might be found alive bit we had to be honest with them.
“We could find no trace of Jayden and we knew that Ben Blakeley had lied about his contact with her immediately prior to her going missing.
“So the decision was taken to charge him with murder and tell the public we believed we were searching for her body.”
The family’s hope fell apart when four days later, Jayden’s body was discovered in a grave at All Saint’s Church, Didcot. It came following a tip off from Ben Blakeley’s younger brother Jake.
The discovery shocked everyone involved and police said it is the only know time a body has been found in an existing grave.
Det Ch Supt Murray said: “Only Ben Blakeley can explain why he chose to rebury her body in an existing grave.”
Det Ch Supt Andrew Murray faces the media on December 17 after informing Jayden’s family they had opened a murder investigation
The search for Jayden was extensive with up to 50 specialist officers and dog teams involved.
Police had to urge members of the public not to help out as people turned up to do their bit.
Inspector Mick Greenwood co-ordinated the search and said it was spread over the whole of Didcot and the surrounding area and countryside, with more than 20 possible crime scenes.
He said: “It was a particularly challenging search due to the weather at the time, the terrain officers were searching and the requirement to both secure evidence and protect crime scenes, whilst concentrating our efforts on finding Jayden.”
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