Hereford & Worcester

Thomas Jones: Body found in river in missing student search

Thomas Jones Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Thomas Jones, 18, from Bromsgrove, has not been heard from since 19 September

Officers searching for missing student Thomas Jones have found a body in the River Severn.

The 18-year-old went missing in the early hours of 19 September after a night out during his first week at the University of Worcester.

Since then, hundreds of people have joined the search for Mr Jones, from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire.

West Mercia Police said a body had been recovered and Mr Jones' next of kin had been informed.

In the Find Jonah Facebook group, set up by friends to help in the search for the teenager, Harley Hetherington said the news from police was "not the outcome we wanted but we all did our best and Tom would be so proud".

'Love you forever'

Directly addressing his friend Mr Jones, he said: "The whole country loves you mate and even further beyond.

"You were and always will be in every single one of our hearts and we all love you forever."

Latest news and updates from the West Midlands

Mr Hetherington thanked everyone for their help and support, adding it showed "not only how amazing Tom was as a person but how amazing all of you are".

Supt Damian Pettit said as formal identification had not yet taken place he could not make any further comment, but gave "sincere thanks" to the public for the overwhelming support.

It is believed Mr Jones crossed the Sabrina footbridge over the river near to Worcester Racecourse, and then walked on to a footpath that runs along the top of the flood defences in Hylton Road in the direction of Hallow, just before 03:50 BST.

He was starting a primary teaching course at the University of Worcester and had moved to the city on 16 September.

Image caption Thomas Jones' parents had previously thanked people for their help and support

Two 20-year-old men arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with his disappearance on Sunday were later released without charge, the force said.

Since his disappearance, more than 11,000 people have signed a petition calling for CCTV to be placed along the River Severn in the city.

Mr Jones' parents Ian and Vicki had previously thanked people for their help in coming out to look for their son, saying the support from friends and strangers had been immense.

Ian Jones said they had had to "dig deep" for their daughter Ellie.

Uncle Chris Rogers said the family had been through a "rollercoaster of emotions" since the disappearance.

Image caption Search teams have been checking the River Severn since Mr Jones went missing

The university extended a free taxi service that runs during 'freshers' week following Mr Jones' disappearance to "reassure" students.

The scheme sees uniformed security staff directing students to taxis which take them back to campus from 01:30 BST to 3:30 BST every day.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites