Sarah Benford murder: Police searching land in Kettering
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Police will today (Monday, November 15, 2021) begin excavating a section of land in Kettering in their search for the body of missing teenager Sarah Benford.
Sarah has not been seen alive since April 6, 2000 when she went missing from her care home in Northampton.
Northamptonshire Police subsequently declared a murder investigation, but despite a four-year inquiry including the arrest of a number of suspects as well as searches in Kettering, London and Wales, nobody has ever been charged.
However, following new intelligence gathered by the Force’s Major Investigation Team, a search has begun on an area of open space land in the Valley Walk area of Kettering.
The 70-metre by 70-metre area will be sealed off until the excavation is completed.
This could take up to two weeks with dozens of police providing scene guard support throughout the operation
Specialist police search teams will be assisted by forensic archaeologists in an operation which will see ground penetration radar equipment deployed to assess any movement on the section of land under investigation.
Det Supt Joe Banfield who is leading the Northamptonshire Police operation, said: “We have received significant intelligence which has pointed us to this site as a possible area of interest.
“Sarah went missing more than 21 years ago now, but we have never given up trying to find her body and, potentially, tracing her killer or killers.
“We have informed Sarah’s family and they are supportive of the operation being carried out today. We will be in close contact with them as the excavation unfolds, but we request that members of the media do not try to contact them.
“Clearly someone out there knows what happened to Sarah all those years ago and we would urge anyone with new information to contact us on 101 or, in confidence, via the Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.”
The site will be screened off from the public while the search is happening.
Police community support officers and neighbourhood teams will be carrying out visible patrols in the immediate area, providing reassurance to local residents and preserving the site throughout the time needed to excavate the site.
Northamptonshire Police has set up an incident number for anyone with information relating to Sarah’s disappearance. The incident number is 359 of 10/11/2021.
Anyone wishing to submit any details they think may assist with this inquiry, be that photographs or video footage, can do so on the following link: Public Portal (mipp.police.uk)