Police searching for the body of missing 14-year-old Sarah Benford in Kettering have issued an update on the progress of their work.
Sarah has not been seen alive since April 6, 2000, when she went missing from a care home in Northampton, and it is sadly believed that the teenager was murdered.
On Monday, November 15, specialist teams began excavating wooded land near Valley Walk, and yesterday, November 18, on day four of the search, they began preparing for the use of specially-trained victim identification dogs alongside hand and mechanical excavations.
Det Supt Joe Banfield, who is leading the Northamptonshire Police operation, said the team had received information from a number of people since the search work began, including from residents who had visited the site and spoken to officers.
He added: “We have moved on at pace, we are sensitively digging each of the areas of anomaly using a combination of defence and science experts, archaeologists and a forensic digger man.
“We have gone through roughly half the areas we’re concerned with, sadly we haven’t found Sarah yet but I remain positive that we will find her, it’s just going to take some time.
“We’ve got specific dog resources down here that can search for dead bodies. So at the moment the handlers are gridding out and venting the ground, they have gridded out the first area we are going to search, they are now digging vent holes, so after a period of that ground remaining sterile for 12 to 20 hours the dogs will go through that area and will indicate whether they find something that could be human or animal remains.
“If that is the case we will be going through the same process we will be going through the same digging process we are going through with the areas of anomaly.”
Anyone with information about Sarah’s disappearance is urged to call Northamptonshire Police on 101, regarding incident number 359 of November 10, 2021, or speak to officers at the scene.