Police searching for missing architect Joanna Yeates have found a female body near a golf club in North Somerset.
The discovery was made by a couple walking their dogs on Christmas morning in the Failand area of North Somerset, according to Avon and Somerset Police.
A police spokesman said: “At 9am this morning a couple walking their dogs found the body of a young woman in a roadside verge in Longwood Lane in the Failand area of North Somerset.
“The area has been cordoned off and Longwood Lane has been closed at both ends by police, pending an examination of the scene by crime scene investigators.
“A pathologist will be attending the scene to examine the body.
“At this moment in time it is far too early to confirm the cause of death or any circumstances.”
Chief Superintendent Jon Stratford said: “I can confirm that Joanna Yeates’s parents have been informed of this development. They are naturally very, very distressed. Our thoughts are with them at this very, very difficult time.”
He said a post-mortem examination will be conducted tomorrow.
Forensic officers are working under an erected white tent over the ditch where the body was found. Police closed off both ends of Longwood Lane, as the forensics team conducted a thorough search of the area.
Police officers were using wooden poles to search the grass verges at the site, which is close to Bristol City Football Club and Bristol Grammar School sports ground. The fire brigade has also been brought in to assist in recovering the body.
Police yesterday released CCTV footage showing Joanna Yeates, missing since Friday, buying a pizza at her local Tesco in Clifton village, Bristol, on the night of her disappearance.
Joanna Yeates, 25, has not been seen since Friday 19 December, when she left the Ram pub in Park Street, Bristol, after a Christmas drink with colleagues.
Ms Yeates stopped at Tesco in Regent Street to buy a Finest Margherita Pizza at around 8.35pm. Police have so far been unable to find any trace of the pizza or its packaging at the missing woman’s home.
Her boyfriend, Greg Reardon, was visiting relatives in Sheffield at the time of her disappearance. He reported her missing when he returned to the flat they shared on Sunday, 19 December.
The decision to release the footage follows an emotional appeal for the missing architect on Thursday from her parents, David and Theresa Yeates.
Bristol and Avon Police have asked anyone who has seen Joanna in the last week to contact the Operation Braid incident room on 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Miss Yeates, 25, leaves the architectural firm where she worked with boyfriend Greg Reardon, 27, and joins colleagues in the Ram pub in Park Street for a drink.
She leaves the Ram to walk the 20-minute journey home from the city centre to Clifton.
Miss Yeates is caught on CCTV in a Waitrose supermarket in the Clifton Triangle
She uses her mobile phone to ring her best friend Rebecca Scott and arranges to meet on Christmas Eve.
At a Tesco Express on Regent Street in Clifton Village, about a quarter of mile from her flat, Miss Yeates buys a pizza, which is missing. Police believe she returned home to her flat in Canynge Road, which she shared with Mr Reardon. A receipt from Tesco was found in the flat, along with a cream-coloured coat she had been wearing and her mobile phone and keys.
Mr Reardon reports Miss Yeates missing when he returns to Bristol from a weekend away visiting relatives in Sheffield.
Avon and Somerset Police make their first appeal for information over Miss Yeates’ disappearance. Officers said they were concerned for safety because it was out of character.
Miss Yeates’s parents, David and Theresa, appeal for information at a police press conference in Bristol.
They said: “Jo, whatever the reason that you have not been in touch over the last few days, we want you to know that we love you dearly and are desperate to know that you are safe and well.
“Please get in touch as soon as possible. Either to the police or anyone who can confirm you are OK.”
Mr Reardon speaks of his distress at the disappearance of his girlfriend.
“I desperately want her back. I thought we would be together forever,” he says from Miss Yeates’s parents home in Ampfield, Hampshire.
“She was my future. This Christmas was going to be our first together. I was going to spend it with her family, which is always a big deal for a boyfriend.
“We were both really happy in our jobs – we worked together and that’s how we met.”
Specialist officers have been searching the couple’s flat, as well as the snowy Bristol Downs and Avon Gorge. They have also taken a phone and laptop computer from Mr Reardon as part of the inquiry.
Miss Yeates’s parents make a second tearful appeal and reveal their fears that their daughter has been abducted. Mr Yeates begs her potential kidnapper: “If she’s dead, please tell somebody where she is.
“I think she was abducted after getting home to her flat. I have no idea of the circumstances of the abduction because of what was left behind.
“I feel sure she would not have gone out by herself leaving all these things behind and she was taken away somewhere.”
Detectives said that when Miss Yeates was in the Tesco Express she had bought a Tesco Finest tomato, mozzarella and basil pesto pizza. However, there was no trace of the pizza, the wrapping or the box in her flat.
Female body found near a golf course in North Somerset.