London

Alice Gross suspect 'may be' body in park, police say

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Media captionThe BBC's Mike Sergeant says the body was found in woodland in Boston Manor Park, near Hanwell

Police searching for Arnis Zalkalns, suspected of killing teenager Alice Gross, have said early indications suggest a body found in London is his.

The "badly decomposed" body was found in woodland in Boston Manor Park, near Hanwell, on Saturday.

No formal identification has taken place. Alice's family has been told.

The 14-year-old was last seen on 28 August after leaving her home in Hanwell. Her body was found in west London's River Brent on Tuesday.

Mr Zalkalns was filmed cycling along the Grand Union Canal 15 minutes after Alice had walked along it on 28 August.

A Metropolitan Police statement said: "Although no formal identification has been made early indications suggest the body may be that of Arnis Zalkalns.

"We have updated his partner and a family liaison officer is supporting her."

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Image caption The body was found in Boston Manor Park in West London

It added: "Although Arnis Zalkalns had been identified as a suspect in the Alice Gross murder investigation, enquiries continue to establish the full circumstances surrounding this crime.

"Officers are still searching for evidence, and once again appeal to the public for any information that could assist them."

He has been missing from his Ealing home since 3 September.

The 41-year-old Latvian is a building labourer with a murder conviction.

Image copyright Met Handout
Image caption Alice Gross was last seen walking along the Grand Union Canal on 28 August

He served seven years in prison in his native country for bludgeoning and stabbing his wife Rudite to death.

When police found Alice's body on Tuesday they said significant efforts had been made to conceal it.

'Horrific case'

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will examine "all the circumstances of the case" surrounding the murder of Alice.

He described it as a "horrific case", and said: "Anyone with a daughter will have just felt sickened by what has happened and what that poor family has had to go through."

Mr Cameron's words came after it was revealed that further tests will be carried out on Alice's body after a post-mortem examination proved inconclusive.

Image copyright Met
Image caption Police officers from several forces took part in the search for the teenager

The post-mortem at Uxbridge mortuary took two days due to the "complex nature" of the investigation, Scotland Yard said.

Following the discovery of Alice's body, her parents Rosalind Hodgkiss and Jose Gross said: "Why anyone would want to hurt her is something that we are struggling to come to terms with.

"Alice was a loving and much loved daughter and sister, a quirky live spark of a girl, beautiful inside and out."

The teenager's disappearance prompted an outpouring of support in her local community of Hanwell, west London, where yellow ribbons and bows still adorn the streets.

Mr Zalkalns, a general labourer, who worked at a building site in Isleworth, west London, is believed to have come to the UK in 2007, but authorities here are thought to have had no record of his murder conviction.

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