Police confirm body of missing teenager has been found

Louise Smith was last seen in Leigh Park, Havant, at about midday on May 8.

Louise Smith missing
Louise Smith missing

Detectives searching for a teenager who has been missing since VE Day have confirmed that her body has been found.

Hampshire Police said a body found in woodland in Havant, Hampshire, on Thursday is that of 16-year-old Louise Smith.

The teenager, from the Leigh Park area, was reported missing on May 8.

Louise Smith missing
Flowers left outside Havant Thicket in Hampshire (Ben Mitchell/PA)

In an update on Saturday evening, police said formal identification procedures had been completed with Louise’s family being informed and supported by specialist officers.

Friends of the teenager, whose death police previously said was being treated as suspicious, have spoken of their devastation at her death.

Mandy Ferdinando, who had known Louise since she was a young girl, laid flowers at the entrance to Havant Thicket, where the teenager’s body was found.

She previously told the PA news agency: “She was a lovely girl with a heart of gold.

“The community is devastated, sad, shocked. I can’t speak for everybody but when anyone hears of a young person, whoever it may be, it’s very sad.”

Louise was last seen in Somborne Drive in the Leigh Park area at about midday on May 8.

Police forensic officers carried out searches of a flat in the street and blacked out the property’s windows.

Neighbours previously said it is believed that Louise had been staying with a couple at the flat.

John Singleton said: “I saw her on the day she went missing, she just went out walking, I didn’t know where she was going.

“It’s very sad, the outcome is the saddest, for a while we had some hope.”

Describing the police activity at the flat, he added: “The police have been in and out carrying stuff.”

A man and a woman, both aged 29, were arrested on May 15 on suspicion of kidnap and later released on bail.

Detective Chief Superintendent Scott MacKechnie previously said: “Our officers will continue to be conducting inquires in the Leigh Park area and the extensive forensic work will continue for some days in the Havant Thicket.”

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