Man Held on Suspicion of Murdering British Teenager Gaia Pope

November 16, 2017 Updated: November 16, 2017    

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering British teenager Gaia Pope on Thursday, Nov. 16, police said.

The 49-year-old man is from the coastal town of Swanage in Dorset. Police say he is believed to have known Gaia.

The 19-year-old was last seen around 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7 while staying at an address in Swanage.

A search involving the coastguard and helicopter is ongoing in the area.

A police officer attends the scene of a search for missing teenager Gaia Pope along the coastal path near Langton Matravers on November 16, 2017 in Swanage, England. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Gaia’s father, Richard Sutherland, told the BBC, “We have every hope—every minute that goes by we still have hope.

“I can’t describe it—you can imagine, it’s just about the toughest thing we can go through.”

Police describe Gaia as white, 5 feet 7 inches tall, with long, mousey blonde hair and a medium build. She was believed to be wearing a black fur-trimmed jacket, grey leggings, and white trainers.

Detectives released CCTV images of Gaia on Nov. 15 that were taken less than an hour before she went missing.

She was being driven between Langton Matravers and Swanage by a relative, when they stopped at a petrol station. The CCTV footage shows the teenager going into the garage to buy an ice cream at about 2:55 p.m.

(Dorset Police)
(Dorset Police)

Earlier this morning, a member of the public found items of women’s clothing in a field on a coastal path in Dorset.

It is unclear who the clothing belongs to, but Gaia’s family have been informed.

A 71-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man that were both known to Gaia were arrested on suspicion of murder on Monday Nov. 13. Both were released the following day and are under investigation.

Senior Investigating Officer Neil Devoto of Dorset Police said: “We believe Gaia was wearing the same grey and white woven leggings and white trainers, but was last seen in a red checked shirt with white buttons. When she disappeared she was not wearing the black jacket pictured, which was recovered at an address in Manor Gardens.

“Our search efforts are continuing and I would again appeal to the public that if they have any information, however small, that could lead us to finding Gaia, please get in touch.”

He added, “Finally, I would like to offer my thoughts to Gaia’s family and friends in what is an incredibly difficult time for them. It has been over a week since she went missing and we are doing all we can in order to find her.”