Police in Wales say they have arrested a 46-year-old man in connection with the disappearance of April Jones, a five-year-old girl who was abducted while playing near her home in Machynlleth, Wales. The child is still missing, despite a nationwide search.
According to Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan, of Dyfed-Powys police, 46-year-old Mark Bridger, is a resident of the Machynlleth area and is known by April's family.
"We made the arrest just outside Machynlleth and we are hopeful this individual will assist us in finding April, who is still missing," Bevan told The Huffington Post. "We are still pursuing all lines of inquiry with the view that April is still alive and we will continue to do so until we find her. For obvious reasons, we are not able to give you details of the individual that we have assisting us with our inquiries."
April was last seen Monday night playing outside with a friend near her home on the estate of Bryn-y-Gog. Police said the girl willingly got into a grey-colored van around 7:30 p.m. Bridger reportedly owns a similar vehicle. According to Bevan, the vehicle is now in police custody and is being examined by a forensics team. Bridger, meanwhile, is being questioned at a police station in Aberystwyth.
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Bevan would not speculate on a possible motive or offer details about what may have happened to the girl after she was abducted. The veteran police officer also offered no evidence regarding whether or not April is still alive, saying only that his department's priority is reunite the girl with her family.
"We are ... pursuing all lines of inquiry with the aim of finding her alive," Bevan said. "Our inquiries at the scene have given us a number of leads to follow."
April's abduction garnered international media attention and has attracted scores of volunteers who have joined search efforts. Authorities have closed several roads and highways during the search and have asked the coast guard to help examine a river just outside Machynlleth.
Police also confirmed today that they have been interviewing area sex offenders. They said they are also looking into the possibility that April's abduction could be connected to an attempted abduction that occurred in the Aberystwyth area last week.
Bevan offered no other details on the case, but said he is keeping April's parents, Paul and Coral Jones, ages 43 and 40, respectively, abreast of all developments.
"I spoke to the family before the latest press conference and our expert team will continue to support them," he said.
At the time of her disappearance, April was wearing a purple, knee-length coat with grey fur around the hood, a white polo top and black trousers. Anyone with information is being urged to call (0300) 2000-333 or 1-800-THE-LOST.