Police searching for missing mother Katie Kenyon believe she is “no longer alive” and have arrested a man on suspicion of murder.
The 50-year-old man, who was initially arrested for kidnapping, has now been arrested on suspicion of the 33-year-old’s murder and remains in custody.
Detectives are set to ask magistrates for further time to question the suspect, who is said to be known to Ms Kenyon.
The missing woman has not been seen by her family since last Friday morning, when she was spotted getting into a van in Burnley, Lancashire.
Ms Kenyon’s family are “extremely upset” by the latest news and are being supported by specialist officers, Lancashire Police said.
A statement from the foce on Tuesday evening said: “A man arrested on suspicion of the kidnapper of missing mum Katie Kenyon has this afternoon been further arrested on suspicion of her murder.
“While Katie has not yet been found, and the search for her is continuing, detectives are now working on the basis that she is sadly no longer alive.”
More than 60 specialist search officers from four police forces, along with search dogs and a plane, are scouring the dense Gisburn Forest in the Ribble Valley for the missing 33-year-old.
Police previously issued a photograph of the silver Transit van and are continuing to appeal to anyone who saw the vehicle, or has dashcam footage of it, to come forward.
Det Supt Gary Brooks, head of major crime for Lancashire Police, said: “While I hold some slim hope that Katie may still be found alive, I’m sad to say that Katie has now been missing for over four days.
“Despite extensive police inquiries and media appeals we have not found Katie, nor have there been any sightings of Katie.
“We have spoken to Katie’s family today and they are understandably extremely upset by this latest development, and I have officers continuing to offer them support. My thoughts are with them at this time.”
Det Supt Brooks added: “We are continuing to search a number of different locations in connection with this investigation, including at Gisburn Forest, and I am grateful to colleagues from Merseyside and North Wales and other emergency service partners who are offering assistance in these complex and wide-scale searches.”
Anyone with information should call the police on 101, quoting log 800 of April 24, or you can contact them through the Major Incident Public Portal at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/0401020119P01-PO1.
Alternatively, contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.