Body found in woodland on Sussex border confirmed as missing 16-year-old

A body found in woodland on the West Sussex border in the search for a missing teenage girl has been confirmed as 16-year-old Louise Smith.

Police found a body in the search for missing teenager Louise Smith on Friday
Police found a body in the search for missing teenager Louise Smith on Friday

Louise, from Havant, was last seen at midday on VE Day, May 8, in Somborne Drive, Leigh Park.

On Thursday morning, officers searching for her found a body in Havant Thicket, near Rowlands Castle on the West Sussex border.

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Providing an update this evening (Saturday, May 23), Hampshire Constabulary confirmed that the body found was that of Louise.

A body has been found in Havant Thicket. Police were at the scene on Thursday evening, May 21. Pictured is: Posters up of missing girl Louise Smith at the entrance of Staunton Country Park. Picture: Sarah Standing (210520-2527) PPP-200521-215329003

A spokesperson said: “Formal identification procedures have been completed. Louise’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.”

On Friday evening, the police force said officers would continue to be conducting enquires in the Leigh Park area, and extensive forensic work would continue ‘for some days’ in the Havant Thicket.

Detective Chief Superintendent Scott MacKechnie said officers remain focused on working hard to ‘establish the exact circumstances’ that led to its discovery.

He added: “We have really valued the support we have had from the community so far, we know that this is a very difficult time, but we ask that you do not speculate on social media, as this can cause even further distress to family and friends who may be reading these posts, so please bear that in mind.

“If you have any concerns, please speak to one of our officers.”

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