LATVIAN BUILDER BEING HUNTED OVER LONDON TEENAGER’S DISAPPEARANCE

September 17 2014

– A 41-year-old Latvian builder missing from his London home for 14 days was today being sought by murder squad detectives investigating the disappearance of schoolgirl Alice Gross.
Arnis Zalkalns was last seen at the home he shared with his partner and child in Ealing, west London, on the evening of September 3 – seven days after Alice was captured on CCTV in nearby Hanwell.
Detectives said it was believed the father-of-one left home early on September 4. He has a red Trek mountain bike and would normally meet a friend at 8am, before they cycled to work in Isleworth.
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Undated handout file photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of 14-year-old girl Alice Gross +12
Arnis Zalkalns, a 41-year-old Latvian builder +12
Probe: Arnis Zalkalns (right) was last seen at the home he shared with his partner and child in Ealing, west London, on the evening of September 3 – seven days after Alice Gross (left) was captured on CCTV in Hanwell
Their commute would be along the same stretch of the Grand Union Canal where Alice, 14, was last seen – but Mr Zalkalns failed to turn up. He was reported missing to police on September 5.
Scotland Yard said Mr Zalkalns is white and 5ft 10ins, with a stocky build and dark brown hair which he normally has tied in a ponytail.
Detective Superintendent Carl Mehta from the force said: ‘It is completely out of character for Arnis to go missing. His family is very worried about him. I am asking for anyone who has seen him, or knows where he is to get in touch.
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‘Given the time that Arnis was last seen, and that he travels to work along a similar route to the one we know Alice took on August 28, I am really keen to speak to him. At this stage, we simply want to speak to him, as he may well have important information that can help our search for Alice.
‘I would stress that based on what we know now there is no evidence to suggest that Arnis and Alice knew each other. This continues to be a fast moving investigation, and this is one of a number of lines of enquiry that we are urgently looking into.’
The development came as the ‘heartbroken’ mother of missing Alice made another appeal to her daughter today, saying: ‘Please Alice, if you’re out there, come home.’
Rosalind Hodgkiss, 50, makes the appeal to the BBC’s Crimewatch, which will air tonight and also features detectives investigating the 14-year-old girl’s disappearance.
‘Heartbreaking’: Rosalind Hodgkiss, mother of missing Alice Gross, spoke to Crimewatch ahead of an appeal +12
‘Heartbreaking’: Rosalind Hodgkiss, mother of missing Alice Gross, spoke to Crimewatch ahead of an appeal
Despite many appeals, officers have received no confirmed sightings of Alice since 4.26pm on August 28, when she was last spotted on CCTV by the Grand Union Canal in west London.
Mrs Hodgkiss said: ‘The last two weeks have been completely heartbreaking. There’s not a moment of the day that you don’t think about Alice and where she is, what might have happened, or why she might have gone missing.
‘Given the time that Arnis was last seen, and that he travels to work along a similar route to the one we know Alice took on August 28, I am really keen to speak to him’
Detective Superintendent Carl Mehta, Metropolitan Police
‘It’s almost impossible to describe what that pain feels like, but we just want her to know “Please Alice, if you’re out there, come home”.
‘And if anyone has any information at all about her movements on that day, or about her whereabouts now, I just really plead with them to come forward to the police and get her home, because that’s where she belongs – she needs to be here with us.’
Two men have so far been arrested on suspicion of murder by officers probing her disappearance.
A 25-year-old man arrested on September 6 on suspicion of murder and bailed by detectives was told today that he faces no further action.
And a 51-year-old man, who was arrested by officers on suspicion of murder on September 7, was released with no further action the following day.
Officers have produced a map (pictured) outlining the 14-year-old’s last known journey. She left home (1) at 1pm on August 28 and her bag was later found on a towpath (2). Police still need to speak to five cyclist seen on CCTV passing the Trumpers Way Canal Bridge (3) +12
Route: Officers released a map (pictured) outlining Alice’s last known journey. She left home (1) at 1pm on August 28 and her bag was later found on a towpath (2). Police still need to speak to five cyclists seen on CCTV passing the Trumpers Way Canal Bridge (3)
The white iPhone 4S belonging to Alice (right), had a distinctive cracked case that she had colourfully decorated herself. It has yet to be found +12
Siblings: The white iPhone 4S belonging to Alice (right), had a distinctive cracked case that she had colourfully decorated herself. It has yet to be found. Alice’s sister Nina is pictured left)
The Metropolitan Police’s Detective Chief Inspector Andy Chalmers will be live in the Crimewatch studio during tonight’s programme.
He will be using CCTV images to show Alice’s last known movements between 1pm when she left her Hanwell home and 4.26pm when she walked along Trumpers Way, towards Hanwell.
‘The last two weeks have been completely heartbreaking. There’s not a moment of the day that you don’t think about Alice and where she is, what might have happened, or why she might have gone missing’
Rosalind Hodgkiss, mother
Officers previously said her missing smartphone may hold ‘key’ information about her disappearance. The device last connected to the network at just after 5pm.
Her Vans rucksack was found by the River Brent a week and a half ago, but no money or purse was inside and her white iPhone 4S with a distinctive cracked case has yet to be found.
Mr Chalmers said police had no evidence that the anorexic schoolgirl was being bullied on social media but hoped finding her phone might uncover any secret communications she might have had.
He said her family has been left ‘devastated’ by her disappearance. Her parents Jose Gross and Rosalind Hodgkiss, and her sister Nina, have already recorded appeals for her to come home.
THE LAST KNOWN JOURNEY OF ALICE GROSS: A TIMELINE OF AUGUST 28
1pm: Alice leaves home on foot
1pm: The 14-year-old is seen on CCTV walking along Campbell Road, past Hanwell Station
1.02pm: Alice seen on CCTV walking along Golden Manor and then Alwyn Road
1.13pm: Alice is caught on CCTV walking along the river path in the direction of Hanwell Bridge
1.15pm: Alice is caught on CCTV walking along the Uxbridge Road
The last sighting of Alice Gross, pictured, was when she was captured on CCTV at 4.26pm on August 28 on Trumpers Way, the bridge that crosses the Grand Union Canal +12
The last sighting of Alice Gross, pictured, was when she was captured on CCTV at 4.26pm on August 28 on Trumpers Way, the bridge that crosses the Grand Union Canal
1.26pm: CCTV footage shows her in Windmill Lane. She then followed the Grand Union Canal towpath until it reached the Thames, walking towards Kew
2.23pm: The teenager is seen on CCTV near the Holiday Inn, Commerce Road
3.45pm: Alice is caught on CCTV at Brentford Lock
3.56pm: Alice is caught on CCTV close to the GlaxoSmithKline building based in Great West Road
4.02pm: Alice is caught on CCTV opposite Transport Avenue
4.23pm: Three cyclists, followed by two cyclists, are caught on CCTV riding on the towpath under Trumpers Way, that crosses the Grand Union Canal
4.25pm: Alice is caught on CCTV walking in the same place
4.26pm: The last sighting of Alice that is captured on CCTV shows her on Trumpers Way, the bridge that crosses the Grand Union Canal. She was heading in the direction Hanwell
A police diver and support team carry out a search of a canal at Hanwell Lock in west London earlier this month +12
A police diver and support team carry out a search of a canal at Hanwell Lock in London earlier this month
Mr Chalmers said today: ‘Over two weeks ago now Alice left home, just as normal, and went for a walk. She has not been seen since.
‘The response so far from the public has been great, but as yet we have no confirmed sightings of Alice after 4.30pm that day.
‘Alice’s family are devastated. They think about her constantly’
Andy Chalmers, Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector
‘I am really keen to trace Alice’s phone, which I know has not been used since late afternoon on the day she was last seen.
‘It is white iPhone 4S, with a distinctive cracked rear case that Alice had decorated with marker pen. If you saw, or currently have Alice’s phone please get in touch. Alice’s family are devastated.
‘They think about her constantly. If you have any information that can help us bring Alice back to her family, no matter how small or trivial it may seem to you, please call us.’
Mr Chalmers previously said Alice had been going through a ‘difficult time’ and had been undergoing medical treatment for her anorexia but that there had been no family argument before she vanished.
Detectives say the Alice Gross, pictured, last used her iPhone to send a text to her father on the day she went missing +12
Detectives say Alice Gross, pictured, last used her iPhone to send a text to her father on the day she vanished
Officers say there is no truth in speculation that a family disagreement had sparked Alice’s disappearance +12
Officers say there is no truth in speculation that a family disagreement had sparked Alice’s disappearance
Alice, who was being treated for anorexia, was last seen on CCTV at around 4.30pm on August 28 +12
Posters: Alice, who was being treated for anorexia, was last seen on CCTV at around 4.30pm on August 28
Alice’s phone was last actively used to send a text message to her father shortly after 3pm on the day she disappeared.
‘Alice was a very thin person, it would have stuck in people’s minds’
DCI Chalmers
Police believe that this text shows that at this stage she was planning to go home, but may have extended her walk to kill time waiting for him to return home at 6pm as she did not have a key.
Alice is white, 5ft 2ins tall, of very slim build and has shoulder-length, light brown hair. She was last seen wearing dark blue jeans and a dark green lacy cardigan and carrying the dark rucksack.
Appealing for people to think whether they saw Alice on the afternoon she disappeared, Mr Chalmers said she was ‘very identifiable’.
Alice’s father, Jose Gross (left), Rosalind Hodgkiss (centre) and sister Nina Gross (right) have renewed their appeal for information +12
Family: Alice’s father, Jose Gross (left), Rosalind Hodgkiss (centre) and sister Nina Gross (right) are pictured
Missing: Alice is white, 5 ft 2ins tall and of very slim build with shoulder-length, light brown hair +12
Missing: Alice is white, 5 ft 2ins tall and of very slim build with shoulder-length, light brown hair
‘Alice was a very thin person, it would have stuck in people’s minds,’ he added.
Mr Chalmers also said a couple have come forward to tell police they saw Alice’s bag at around 8.15pm on the day she went missing.
They said they saw it on the footpath that runs besides the River Brent between Hanwell Bridge and the Grand Union Canal, close to where some builders also said they spotted it the following day, but it was on the path rather than in the undergrowth.
The bag was not found by police until September 2. Anyone with information is asked to contact the investigation team on 020 8358 0100, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
The latest episode of Crimewatch will be broadcast on BBC One tonight at 10.40pm
– Mark Duell

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Crimewave2014@gmail.com
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