Police have confirmed that a body found in a Hampshire woodland is that of missing girl Louise Smith, 16.
The teenager, from the Leigh Park area, was reported missing on May 8. A murder investigation was then launched after a body was found in Havant Thicket on Thursday.
Hampshire Police have now confirmed that formal identification procedures of the body have now been completed and Louise’s family have been informed of her death. They are being supported by specialist officers.
A married couple, both 29, were arrested on suspicion of kidnap while the teenager remained missing and have since been released on bail. Louise is reported to have been placed in their care by social services.
Investigating forensic officers are continuing to search the couple’s flat in Leigh Park, and could be seen taking carpet and clothes from the building.
A relative of the couple told The Sun they had contacted Louise’s mum when she first disappeared and were the ones who had reported her missing.
Since the news of her death, family friends have paid tribute to Louise, describing her as a ‘charming young girl who had her whole life ahead of her’.
Family friend Jackie Meredith said she was a ‘really lovely young girl’ who was funny and girly with a ‘large circle of friends’.
She continued: ‘What has happened is disgusting, it’s just so sad. I really hope the police find out what happened to her, whatever it was.
‘We need to know, we all need to know as we live here. Her parents of course need to know, but we as a community need to know. It is all such a shame.’
Another elderly woman living in the block of flats where the couple were arrestd described it as an ‘awful business’. She added: ‘The couple were very quiet, they kept themselves to themselves and I didn’t see them much.
‘For something like this to happen so close to me is so frightening – this is usually a good block.’