Decision looming on April suspect

Ealing Times: Mark Bridger has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of April Jones Mark Bridger has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of April Jones

Detectives investigating the abduction of April Jones have until Saturday afternoon to charge or release murder suspect Mark Bridger.

The hunt for the missing five-year-old is due to recommence at first light after it was temporarily halted overnight so search teams who have been tirelessly combing the area around the Mid Wales town of Machynlleth could rest, according to reports.

Police were on Friday night granted a final 24 hours to question former leisure centre worker Mr Bridger and must now make a decision on whether he will be charged over the schoolgirl's disappearance or set free.

The extension came after investigators revealed they had arrested the 46-year-old on suspicion of murdering April. He had initially being held on suspicion of abduction the day after the child vanished.

Private prayers for April were said by members of the close-knit community on Friday night as the hopes of finding the youngster alive began to recede. Emergency services including the Coastguard, RNLI, RAF mountain rescue and 150 members of mountain rescue teams from across the UK have been searching continuously since April vanished near her home on the Bryn-y-Gog estate on Monday evening. They are liaising with more than 60 specially trained search officers.

Friday night - the fifth night she has been missing - was the first time the teams were instructed to temporarily call off their efforts, according to the BBC.

April, who suffers from cerebral palsy and needs medication, was last seen getting into what is believed to have been a Land Rover Discovery of her own free will. She was playing on the estate as a treat for receiving a glowing report at school.

Mother Coral Jones, 40, and her husband Paul Jones, 44, had attended the nearby primary school's parents evening less than one hour before.

Mr Bridger, who also has children at the school, was there around the same time as a parent. His blue left hand drive Land Rover Discovery was seized by police after his arrest and is being forensically examined.

Following Mr Bridger's arrest on suspicion of murder, Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan said: "The arrest does not detract from our efforts to find April and we remain committed to finding her."

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