A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a man who has been missing since February, and a body has been discovered.

The investigation into the disappearance of Valentin Kachanov, 27, from West Thurrock, is being treated as a murder inquiry.

Mr Kachanov has not been seen since February 8, almost three months ago.

Police officers have suspended their search for him after finding a body in the water at around 1pm on Thursday near Wouldham Road, Grays.

The body is yet to be identified, but Mr Kachanov’s family have been informed that the search has been suspended.

Formal identification and a post-mortem examination will take place in due course.

A 22-year-old man from Grays was arrested on Monday on suspicion of murder and released on bail until Thursday May 23.

Mr Kachanov was last seen on Friday February 8 and was at the intu Lakeside shopping centre at 10am.

Enquiries remain ongoing to establish his movements after this point. He was last in contact with his family in Bulgaria via a phone call at 7.40pm.

He has not been in contact with anyone since.

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore said: “It is absolutely out of character for Valentin to not contact his family for such a long period of time and although I remain open minded I am now treating his disappearance as a murder enquiry.

“We’re continuing to try and build a picture of the circumstances and reasons for his disappearance, and are carrying out extensive enquiries to help us find out what has happened to him.

“Clearly, we and his family are extremely concerned and we continue to ask for anyone with information to get in touch, as the smallest piece of information could be vital.”

Police are also keen to speak to anyone with dash cam or CCTV footage taken on London Road between 6pm and 9pm on the evening of February 8.

Anyone with information should call the North Major Crime team on 101 or email scd.appeals.essex@essex.pnn.police.uk

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.