Timeline: Milly Dowler family's wait for justice
- 23 June 2011
- From the section England
The disappearance of Milly Dowler led to the largest inquiry in the history of Surrey Police.
The 13-year-old vanished as she walked home from school in Walton-on-Thames in March 2002. Her remains were found six months later in woods in Hampshire.
At the Old Bailey on Thursday, convicted double killer Levi Bellfied was found guilty of her murder.
This is a timeline of events.
Milly is reported missing after failing to return home from school. She had last been seen by a schoolfriend in Station Avenue, Walton-on-Thames, close to where Levi Bellfield lived.
More than 100 officers and dozens of volunteers are involved in the search for Milly. The head teacher at Milly's school in Weybridge says everyone is "in limbo".
Milly's parents, Sally and Bob, release footage showing the 13-year-old ironing and playing the saxophone at home shortly before Christmas. Mr Dowler says he believes his daughter has been abducted.
A television reconstruction of Milly's last known movements is shown on BBC's Crimewatch and an RAF helicopter is brought in to take high-resolution aerial photographs of the area where she was last seen.
April to May 2002
The search is widened beyond the Walton-on-Thames area. Officers examine Milly's computer to see if she was using internet chat rooms.
Milly's sister, Gemma, says the disappearance has been like a nightmare. Police also release parts of a "friendship book" kept by Milly and her friend Hannah MacDonald in the hope whoever may be holding her contact them.
The Sun newspaper offers a £100,000 reward for information which results in finding the missing schoolgirl.
Police make their first arrest in their investigation. A 36-year-old man from Chertsey is questioned but released without charge. A second man, aged 52, is also questioned about her disappearance but later released.
June to July 2002
Detectives tell Milly's parents "to expect the worst" as the search continues. Bob and Sally talk of their heartache as their daughter's 14th birthday passes.
Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was abducted and killed in July 2000, urge Bob and Sally to "stay strong and hopeful".
Police reveal CCTV evidence shows Milly was probably snatched in a "chance abduction" as she was walking along Station Avenue.
September to October 2002
Milly's remains are found in remote woodland by a couple picking mushrooms at Yateley Heath in Hampshire. She is identified through her dental records.
A memorial service, attended by Bob, Sally and Gemma and staff and pupils from Heathside School, takes place at Guildford Cathedral.
A funeral procession takes place along Station Avenue where Milly was last seen before a private ceremony is held at St John's Crematorium in Woking.
Celebrities and music stars are among almost 2,000 people to attend a show held to celebrate Milly's life at the London Palladium.
Pop Idol winner Will Young headlined the Music and Laughter for Milly event, which raised money for a charity set up in her memory.
March to July 2005
Police release details about a red Daewoo Nexia car, which was seen on CCTV less than 100 yards away from where Milly disappeared.
Detectives reveal they have pursued 11,500 lines of inquiry and taken 4,300 statements. Forty-seven officers are still working on the case,
A former bouncer and wheelclamper, Levi Bellfield, is questioned over the murder of Milly but the development is not made public.
Bellfield is given a whole life term for murdering two women and attempting to kill a third.
The 39-year-old, from west London, bludgeoned Amelie Delagrange, 22, and Marsha McDonnell, 19, after they got off buses in south-west London.
He is also found guilty of trying to kill Kate Sheedy, then 18, in 2004.
Bellfield is named as a prime suspect in the murder of Milly.
Surrey Police say the end of Bellfield's trial has provided "new opportunities for us to explore areas that we had previously been unable to".
Surrey Police submit a dossier of evidence against Bellfield to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Bellfield is formally charged with Milly's murder. He appears by video link at Staines Magistrates' Court.
The trial of Levi Bellfield begins at the Old Bailey.
Bellfield is found guilty of the murder of Milly Dowler.