BODY OF MISSING ARCHITECT JOANNA YEATES FOUND BY DOG WALKERS

December 27 2010

– Family and friends of Joanna Yeates today faced their worst fear as police said they were ‘satisfied’ her body had been found.

The grim discovery was made at 9am yesterday by a couple walking their dogs in the Failand area of North Somerset.

They said at this stage they are treating the death as suspicious, but are waiting on the results of a post mortem examination.

An Avon and Somerset police spokesman said: ‘We are satisfied the body is Joanna Yeates, but this is pending the results of a post mortem which is not expected for at least 24 hours due to the nature of how she was found in such extreme conditions.’

Joanna and her boyfriend Greg Reardon at a wedding this summer

Joanna and her boyfriend Greg Reardon at a wedding this summer

Police search Longwood Lane near Bristol where Joanna Yeates' body was found yesterday by dog walkers

Police search Longwood Lane near Bristol where Joanna Yeates’ body was found yesterday by dog walkers

Today, friends of the 26-year-old architect left anguished messages on a Faceboook page set up to help find her.

Bec Wood wrote: ‘Rest In Peace Jo. You will always be loved and remembered for being so beautiful, kind, successful, and lovely. You made Greg so happy. Our thoughts are with Greg, your parents and all of your families and friends. We will miss you Jo, and hope that you have peace now. Love and prayers xxxxxx’

Michael Whitcher added: ‘Rest in peace little Jo, we will miss you always. My hearts and thoughts go out to her family, and I am thankful I knew you. God bless xxx’.

Police said the formal identification procedure is yet to be completed, but they have spoken to the 25-year-old’s family and explained the situation.

Miss Yeates’ father said yesterday he ‘would be relieved’ if the body was his daughter so they would have the opportunity to say goodbye.

Police search the area where a dead body was discovered at the edge of Longwood Lane yesterday

Police search the area where a dead body was discovered at the edge of Longwood Lane yesterday

David and Theresa Yeates

‘Of course we don’t know for sure that it’s her but we assume that it is… It’s been surreal, totally unreal. We’re just waiting now for the police to tell us what we suspect,’ said David Yeates (above with wife Theresa)

David Yeates said: ‘Of course we don’t know for sure that it’s her but we assume that it is.

‘Nobody else has been reported missing and it’s the body of a young girl close to where Jo disappeared. It hasn’t been a Christmas for us. I don’t know what it’s been. It’s been surreal, totally unreal. We’re just waiting now for the police to tell us what we suspect.

‘In truth we feel like we hope … we would be relieved if it was her,’ he told the Sunday Telegraph.

‘We don’t want to go to our graves wondering where she is and not being given the chance to say goodbye to her.

‘We assume that she’s dead so we’d like to say goodbye … our lives have gone.’

The body was found on a snow-covered verge on a country lane on Christmas morning three miles from where Miss Yeates lived with her boyfriend, Greg Reardon.

The scene in Longwood Lane, close to Bristol and Clifton Golf Club, was sealed off for forensic examination.

Where the body was found
Miss Yeates' body was discovered on a grass verge close to the entrance of a quarry outside Bristol

Miss Yeates’ body was discovered on a grass verge close to the entrance of a quarry (circled) just outside Bristol

The Avon Fire Service helped police remove the body from the scene, which was clothed and covered in snow, in order to preserve the site for a thorough forensic examination.

Police are expected to continue their fingertip search in the Longwood Lane area throughout today.

A post mortem examination has been taking place in Bristol today, but due to the extreme freezing conditions in which Miss Yeates body was found, results are not expected until tomorrow at the earliest.

Chief Superintendent Jon Stratford said: ‘Our heartfelt condolences go out to Joanna’s family for their loss.

‘We have not stopped working hard throughout the Christmas period to find their daughter after she was reported missing.

‘Now we will work just as hard to discover exactly what happened to her and how she came to be in Longwood Lane on Christmas morning.

‘Until the post mortem examination is able to firmly establish how Joanna died, we are keeping an open mind about the cause of her death.

‘However, I would appeal to anyone with any information whatsoever that can help this investigation to please come forward and help us provide Joanna’s parents with the answers they so desperately want and need.’

The last known sighting of Miss Yeates, known to her friends as Jo, was on CCTV as she bought a pizza at a branch of Tesco Express in the Clifton area of Bristol on the evening of December 17.

The university graduate, who worked as a landscape architect for BDP, was making her way home from the Ram pub in Park Street at about 8pm after a night out with work colleagues.

Fire brigade surround the area where Joanna was discovered close to a quarry. They used a crane to shift the body from the scene

Fire brigade surround the area where Joanna was discovered close to a quarry. They used a crane to shift the body from the scene

Police are expected to continue their fingertip search in the Longwood Lane area throughout today

Police are expected to continue their fingertip search in the Longwood Lane area throughout today

CCTV of Joanna Yeates

Last sighting: Joanna Yeates using a self-service checkout in Tesco to buy a £4.50 mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto pizza

DETECTIVES PROBE LINKS TO MISSING CHEF CLAUDIA LAWRENCE

Claudia Lawrence

Detectives on the case have been sharing information with the team investigating the disappearance of chef Claudia Lawrence in York.

She has not been seen since March last year.

As in Miss Yeates’s case, Miss Lawrence’s bank cards and other possessions were left at home.

Miss Lawrence’s father Peter said he ‘shared the pain’ of the Yeates family.

Before Saturday’s discovery, he said: ‘I was very distressed to hear of Jo’s disappearance.
‘I have some idea of what they are going through. It’s the not knowing what has happened that is most draining and worrying.’

Jo’s disappearance also bears chilling similarities to that of Melanie Hall, who vanished after leaving a nightclub in Bath in 1996.

Her remains were found dumped on a motorway sliproad in October last year.

On her way home she rang her best friend, Rebecca Scott, to arrange to meet on Christmas Eve.

Her boyfriend, Mr Reardon, 27, reported her missing on Sunday night after returning home to their flat in Canynge Road, Clifton, from a weekend away in Sheffield visiting family.

Friends launched a campaign to find her by putting up posters across Bristol and setting up a website and a page on Facebook and using Twitter.

Officers released footage of her buying the pizza in Tesco, which has become a key part of the investigation.

There was no trace of the pizza, the wrapping or the box in her home – despite the fact that the receipt, the coat she was wearing, and her mobile phone and keys were inside.

Tributes have been paid to Miss Yeates on a facebook page set up to help find her.

Bec Wood wrote: ‘Rest In Peace Jo. You will always be loved and remembered for being so beautiful, kind, successful, and lovely. You made Greg so happy. Our thoughts are with Greg, your parents and all of your families and friends. We will miss you Jo, and hope that you have peace now. Love and prayers xxxxxx’

Michael Whitcher added: ‘Rest in peace little Jo, we will miss you always. My hearts and thoughts go out to her family, and I am thankful I knew you. God bless xxx’.

Mr Reardon’s mother Lydia said the couple – who had been going out for two years – were planning to marry and buy a house together.

Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday last week at her four-bedroom home in Ilfracombe, Devon, Mrs Reardon said Jo and Greg, a fellow architect, were ‘absolutely wonderful’ together.

‘We thought she was the one for Greg,’ said Mrs Reardon.

‘She is a lovely, gorgeous girl. Greg has brought her home and she’s stayed with us a few times. They’ve been together for a couple of years now.

‘Greg is so fond of her. We thought that when he finished getting the last of his qualifications they would get engaged. There was some talk of buying a house together in Bristol.

‘She came down to Ilfracombe for a holiday over Whitsun this year and they had a fabulous time together.’

Mrs Reardon, who works for Waitrose, and her husband John, both 67, said their plans for a family reunion over Christmas had been shattered by Miss Yeates’s disappearance.

A sobbing Mrs Reardon said: ‘They had so much in common. Greg is holding up but he can’t believe it.’

Anyone who can help the investigation can call the Operation Braid incident room on 0845 456 7000 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Anguished boyfriend’s sleepless nights

Greg Reardon

Greg Reardon was left in ‘absolute pieces’ following the disappearance of his girlfriend Jo Yeates

Greg Reardon was left in ‘absolute pieces’ following the disappearance of his girlfriend Jo Yeates.

He had been planning to spend Christmas with her at her parents’ home in Ampfield, Hampshire, then travel to Scotland for Hogmanay.

But last Sunday night, he returned to Bristol after a weekend visiting family in Sheffield to find  she was not at the flat they shared.

Mr Reardon, 27, was clearly distraught as he described at a police Press conference how he returned to the flat but ‘Jo was not home’. ‘Over the weekend I’d tried calling and texting her and didn’t get a reply,’ he said. ‘But it wasn’t completely out of character.

‘Then when I arrived home it was obvious our cat had been left on his own and was going mad. I waited up for her until about midnight and then when she didn’t return I started to get really worried.

‘I went through her bag, which she had left on the table, and found it had all the stuff she would need to take with her, things like her purse and her keys. I called the police and reported her missingand also phoned her parents. Since then I haven’t slept much.’

Mr Reardon, who was sitting next to Jo’s parents David and Teresa as he spoke of his anguish,
then started to weep.

Jo was last seen on the Friday night, stopping at two supermarkets in Bristol.

The two met at Hyland Edgar Driver architects’ firm, where they both worked. They began living
together last year and when the firm moved from Winchester to Bristol, they went with it.

Mr Reardon, raised in Derby and a graduate of Manchester University, has been described as a
keen skier and charity fundraiser.

In the wake of his girlfriend’s disappearance he used internet social networking sites to drum up
publicity to help find her.

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Crimewave2014@gmail.com
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