HOPE of finding the body of Danielle Jones seems to have faded after police revealed they are expecting to finish their search of a garage block today.
Police used a specialist sniffer dog yesterday as the latest search for the body of missing teenager could be wrapped up today.
The force’s investigation at a garage block - between Goddard Road and Crammavill Street, in Stifford Clays - to find the East Tilbury schoolgirl’s body 16 years after she disappeared on the way to catch a bus to school.
Contractors were also at the scene throughout yesterday filling in various holes dug by specialists this week during the fresh probe which began on Monday.
Yesterday marked the fourth day of the search, with police confirming that nothing has so far been found.
Officers were seen guarding the site cordoned off, about the size of a football pitch, as specialists packed away equipment including a white tent which had been a constant presence at the site. Steven Worron, Assistant Chief Constable and head of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, confirmed the use of the dog marked the final stages of the search.
Mr Worron says his team will be certain whether Danielle has been buried there or not when they leave.
He said: “Using the specialist search dog is just another of the options available to us to make absolutely sure that Danielle’s body is not within this site.
“This will be the final stage of the searching and will allow me and my team to be satisfied that we have done everything we can for Danielle’s family to determine categorically whether she is here.”
Neighbours of the site who have seen access to the garage block restricted while officers carry out the investigation.
A resident, 34, who asked not to be named, said: “I saw a police officer with a dog sniffing around the site and initially I thought this may mean they were going to find the body.
“It seems to have quietened down out there now though.
“I really feel for the parents, especially if they don’t find her after all this searching. I can’t imagine what they have been through, and are going through.”
Danielle’s uncle, Stuart Campbell was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2002.
He appealed the conviction in 2004, which was rejected by the Court of Appeal the following year.
Campbell has refused to tell police where Danielle’s body is buried. He could apply for parole in as little as four years.