Louise Smith: Body in Havant woods confirmed as missing teenager

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LouiseImage source, Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption,
Louise Smith was described as a "lovely girl with a heart of gold" by a friend

Police searching for Louise Smith have confirmed that a body recovered from woodland is the missing teenager.

The body of the 16-year-old, who was last seen on 8 May, was found in Havant, Hampshire, on Thursday.

Louise, from the Leigh Park area, was reported missing on the same day.

Hampshire Police said on Saturday evening formal identification procedures were complete and Louise's family informed. They previously said the death was suspicious.

The family were being supported by specialist officers, police added.

Image caption,
Remains were discovered in Havant Thicket on Thursday

Friends of the teenager have spoken of their devastation.

Mandy Ferdinando, who had known Louise since she was a young girl, laid flowers at the entrance to Havant Thicket, where the teenager's body was found.

She previously told the Press Association: "She was a lovely girl with a heart of gold.

"The community is devastated, sad, shocked, I can't speak for everybody but when anyone hears of a young person, whoever it may be, it's very sad."

Louise had not been in touch with her friends or family since being seen in Somborne Drive, a short distance from where the body was found.

Image caption,
Louise was last seen in Somborne Drive on 8 May

Police forensic officers carried out searches of a flat in the street and blacked out the property's windows.

Neighbours previously said it is believed that Louise had been staying with a couple at the flat.

John Singleton said: "I saw her on the day she went missing, she just went out walking, I didn't know where she was going.

"It's very sad, the outcome is the saddest, for a while we had some hope."

Describing the police activity at the flat, he added: "The police have been in and out carrying stuff."

A man and a woman, both aged 29, had previously been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and released on bail.

Hampshire police previously asked people in the area to save any dashcam and CCTV footage from 7 and 8 May - particularly any filmed at VE Day anniversary celebrations - for officers to review.

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