April Jones: Events and investigation timeline in Machynlleth

Map showing where April Jones was last seen and the location of Mark Bridger's arrest

Monday 1 October

19:29 BST: April Jones is reported missing by her mother after playing on her bike with friends near her home on the Bryn-Y-Gog estate in Machynlleth, Powys. The police search is under way immediately, the Child Rescue Alert initiative instigated and a gold group put in place by Dyfed-Powys chief constable Nick Ingram as gold commander.

Around 200 local volunteers gather at a leisure centre to join the search after the news spreads on Twitter and Facebook.

20:00: Media outlets, including BBC Wales, start to become aware of Twitter activity. Shortly before 22:00, police confirm there is a missing child and the news breaks on BBC Wales news website and Radio Wales.

22:30: Dyfed-Powys Police issue a fuller statement saying they are "increasingly concerned" for April. She was seen getting into a light-coloured van which drove off. Inspector Kevin Davies tells BBC Wales that everything is being done to find April.

Tuesday 2 October

05:00: An early morning appeal to media by police. According to children, April was taken away in a van or a four-wheel drive vehicle and there were no apparent signs of a struggle.

Photographs of April, which had already appeared on Twitter, are issued by police.

08:30: Police reveal more information about the circumstances of April's disappearance and say she was last seen wearing a purple coat and her school polo top. A major incident room is set up in Aberystwyth, posters circulated and police chiefs are already doing interviews on breakfast TV.

Refuse collections in the town are suspended as workers join the hunt.

11:40: Shadow Welsh secretary Owen Smith tells the Labour conference: "We all hope and pray that she is back in her community and with her family as soon as is humanly possible."

12:00: Det Supt Reg Bevan, from Dyfed-Powys Police, says it appears April got into the vehicle willingly. Officers are tackling the "delicate and time-consuming" task of speaking to April's friends. He also raises the possibility that the vehicle could be left-hand drive, as it appeared that April had got into the driver's side.

The town, with a population of 2,100, is inundated with volunteers, some travelling from south Wales and the north of England. Police say they want to make sure that search volunteers are used in a coordinated way. The case is the major focus of rolling news coverage, with media descending on Machynlleth.

15:32: A 46-year-old man is arrested in connection with April's abduction, while walking on the A487 just north of the Dyfi Bridge.

16:30: Police give more details of the arrest, saying the man lives locally and has a vehicle similar to the one described by witnesses who saw April's abduction. The vehicle - a blue Land Rover Discovery - has been recovered from a repair garage on Old Station Road. The police's priority is finding April alive.

18:00: A special vigil service is held at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth where prayers are said and candles lit for the safe return of the five-year-old.

19:45: It emerges that the man arrested over the abduction of April is known to her family. He is named locally as Mark Bridger, 46.

21.30: April's family release a statement through police, saying their lives have been shattered.

"We are devastated and our lives have stopped," they say. "Please, please if you have our little girl, let her come home to us."

Wednesday 3 October

07:30: Police say the overnight search, involving 40 trained police officers, dog handlers and mountain rescue teams, yielded no news on April's whereabouts. The public are thanked for their efforts but warned of the "challenging conditions". People are asked to leave the search to "members of our trained and skilled teams".

10:30: Detectives confirm the arrested man as Mark Bridger to "end speculation" and release photographs of him and his vehicle to jog people's memories.

12:30: April's mother Coral Jones makes an emotional plea for any information that will help in the search.

"We are desperate for any news," she says. "April is only five years old - please, please help find her."

17:30: Police reveal the operation has been unprecedented in the UK, in terms of scale and terrain. Neighbouring forces and specialist teams are helping with a focus on over 20 scenes around Machynlleth.

The operation has led to 600 messages from the public to police, and the search involves 100 mountain rescue volunteers, 100 police specialist searchers, 20 dog handlers, as well as coastguards and two RNLI craft.

It is confirmed that April has cerebral palsy and needs medication.

18:00: Another vigil at St Peter's Church is held. The Right Reverend Andy John, the bishop of Bangor, said people "all over the country are now praying for April's safe return".

Thursday 4 October

Satellite image showing the area covered in the search for April Jones

10:00: Volunteers gather for searches of 15 villages within a 10 to 15 mile radius of Machynlleth. Around 450 responded to a call from local search coordinators for people with "good local knowledge" to search farmland and outbuildings.

11:00: Police renew their appeal for information, no matter how small, from the public. They also want to know about suspect Mark Bridger's movements, as they are given more time to question him by Aberystwyth magistrates.

There are around 500 volunteers in the area, who are thanked for their help but reminded that police must coordinate the search to ensure its integrity. Those with good local knowledge are asked to help search farmland and outbuildings.

Prime Minister David Cameron said it was every family's nightmare. He urges anyone with information to speak to police, as does Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones.

17:30: Police say they received more than 2,500 calls in response to their latest appeal for information.

They search a small farmhouse in the nearby village of Ceinws where Mr Bridger was known to be living most recently.

The town of Machynlleth is covered with pink ribbons in response to April's mother's appeal for people to wear her daughter's favourite colour.

Friday 5 October

05:30: Search teams begin gathering again at Machynlleth as light dawns. Police have until 17:00 to charge or release Mark Bridger, although they can apply for a further 24 hours warrant of detention.

10:30: Police tell a press conference that Mr Bridger, who has been held for the past three days over April's disappearance, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Det Supt Reg Bevan said the development would not detract from efforts to find April.

Supt Ian John said the dynamics of the search have changed and police now required only professionals to be involved in the ongoing search for April around Machynlleth.

15:30: Mark Bridger appears in court in Aberystwyth, where police are given another 24 hours to question him.

There are eight police teams of more than 60 specialist search-trained officers involved in the operation. Resources include mountain rescue, rescue dogs, boats with sonar equipment and a helicopter with thermal imaging. Police say there are "countless examples of great kindness" with the public providing food, drink, clothing and batteries to search teams. Police announce they are suspending night-time searches.

Pink ribbons and balloons appear around Machynlleth in support of April's family and the search operation.

Saturday 6 October

The search resumes at first light.

Community leaders reflect on a change in mood but say people are "clinging to hope" April can still be found alive.

16:00 Dyfed Powys Police and the Crown Prosecution Service announce Mark Bridger has been charged with murder, child abduction and perverting the course of justice.

Police say 10 specialist teams are carrying out "systematic and methodical searches" in and around the town. Detectives say the momentum of the search will continue "until we have exhausted all lines of inquiry".

Sunday 7 October

Hundreds take part in a procession and church service for April. The Reverend Kathleen Rogers opened the service by saying that the community and searchers could not bring "sweet and innocent April home as we had hoped".

Monday 8 October

09:40 Mark Bridger appears at Aberystwyth magistrates court charged with the murder of April Jones, child abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice - the latter charge refers to the unlawful disposal and concealment of a body. He is remanded in custody and will be held in prison in Manchester. He is due to appear at Caernarfon Crown Court via video link on Wednesday.

About 100 police officers continue to search for missing April.

19:00 April's parents release a sky lantern from the garden of their home exactly a week after their daughter was last seen. Residents also light lanterns, candles and released pink balloons to remember the missing girl.

Road blocks are put in place as police question motorists travelling through Machynlleth.

Friday 26 October

The Home Office agrees in principle to fund a Dyfed-Powys Police special grant application to support the investigation - with anticipated costs expected to be between £1.8m-2.4m.

Wednesday 12 December

Coral and Paul Jones issue a heartfelt statement, 10 weeks after April's disappearance.

"The empathy shown towards us by not only local people but those from afar has shown us that people really do come together during difficult times," they say.

"We understand that Christmas will be a particularly difficult time without April being amongst us but as parents we will obviously acknowledge the festive season as best as we can."

Police say 16 search teams - each with a leader and six officers - are involved in the operation, as well as 12 dogs and their handlers. The search is to scale down over the Christmas period.

Wednesday 19 December

The mother of missing five-year-old April Jones writes her daughter a Facebook Christmas message, saying she misses her running around the house.

Coral Jones says to her "baby April": "We just want you home for Christmas".

Friday 4 January 2013

A free helpline and counselling service for people affected by the disappearance of April Jones is set up in Machynlleth by the Churches Counselling Service in Wales. It says the majority of those seeking help so far have been young mothers.

Monday 7 January

Police resume their search for April in Machynlleth - with 16 teams and 10 dogs, and six specialist search officers.

Wednesday 9 January

April's mother Coral posts a Facebook message, saying she missed her "like hell" and wants her back in time for her 41st birthday.

Monday 14 January

April's parents are at Mold Crown Court as Mark Bridger denies her abduction and murder at a plea and case management hearing.

Bridger's barrister said he was not guilty of murder but that he accepted that he was probably responsible for her death.

Monday 25 February

Bridger appears at Mold Crown Court where the trial was adjourned.

Wednesday 27 March

Dyfed Powys Police announce the search for the missing child will be scaled back by the end of April.

Monday 29 April

Trial starts at Mold Crown Court.

Thursday 30 May

12:20: Jury unanimously finds Bridger guilty of abducting and murdering April as well as perverting the course of justice following just over four hours of deliberations.

14:45: On sentencing Bridger to a whole life term in prison, the judge called him a "pathological liar" and "a paedophile".

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