The search of Sand Hutton Gravel Pits in relation to the disappearance and suspected murder of Claudia Lawrence has been completed.
Detective Superintendent Wayne Fox, Head of the Major Investigation Team, has confirmed that nothing of obvious significance was located during searches of part of the wooded area and in the smaller of the two lakes.
A small number of items were recovered during the two-week search. Whilst these items are being assessed for their forensic potential, any relevance to Claudia’s disappearance has not currently been established.
Claudia’s family, who continue to be supported and updated by North Yorkshire Police, have been made aware.
Teams of police search experts, specially trained search dogs, divers and forensic archaeologists took part in the search, which began on 24 August and concluded today (5 September).
Det Supt Fox, who is leading the enquiry, said that separate strands of information had been received by detectives investigating Claudia’s disappearance.
Det Supt Fox said:
When we assessed these separate and independently-sourced pieces of information against the wealth of information already generated during the last 12 years, we found they correlated with other information pointing to the area of Sand Hutton.
We then consulted a number of national experts in various different disciplines and concluded that we could not discount the possibility that Sand Hutton Gravel Pits could have a major relevance in explaining what happened to Claudia.
Armed with fresh information to the enquiry, that seemed to corroborate known facts, we were duty bound to conduct thorough searches of the area. Not searching was not an option – not for Claudia, not for her family, and not for the wider public.
As a result of the publicity surrounding the last two weeks, members of the public have come forward with new information for which I am grateful. This will be assessed and investigated in the coming days and weeks.
In the light of some media speculation, I would like to stress, however, that we are not liaising with any other police force in relation to these new lines of enquiry.
As I hope the events of the last two weeks demonstrate, we are committed to establishing what happened to Claudia and bringing closure for her family. You cannot fail to be moved by the ongoing suffering of a mother who does not know what has happened to her daughter. I again repeat the request to those who know what has happened to Claudia, to do the right thing, come forward and help end the torment of Claudia’s family.