“The post-mortem examination has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved in her death”

At around 3pm yesterday, Saturday 18 November 2017, specialist search teams discovered the body of a woman near the coastal path and the field where items of her clothing were located on Thursday 16 November near Swanage.

Although the body has yet to be formally identified, officers are confident that it is Gaia and her family is being supported by specially-trained officers. 

Detective Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “The post-mortem examination has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved in her death. The cause of death is undetermined pending toxicology.

“The coroner is involved in the oversight of these examinations but at this time this remains an investigation into an unexplained death. 

“We would like to take this further opportunity to pass our thoughts to Gaia’s family who we continue to support and who ask for respect of their privacy at this incredibly stressful time. 

“Once again I would like to pass our thanks to the public volunteers and partner organisations who have supported this inquiry throughout and have been material in locating Gaia. 

“The area where the body was located is likely to remain cordoned off for some time while forensic examinations and searches are concluded. 

“Please can I ask that the public no longer attend to assist with searches and that they remain a safe distance from the location. I reiterate this area is steep and slippery in an exposed area close to sea cliffs. The area is covered in dense undergrowth and gorse and can present a hazard. Only specially-trained search and forensic teams are entering the area, assisted by Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service recovery teams.”

Gaia’s family is issuing their thanks to the Find Gaia volunteer group for all their hard work and unwavering support. 

Two men aged 19 and 49 and a 71-year-old woman, all from Swanage and known to Gaia, were arrested on suspicion of murder earlier this week and have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.