New lead prompts police search for body of girl who vanished 21 years ago

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Sarah Benford went missing from her Northampton care home on April 6, 2000. Despite a murder probe being launched three years later, and a number of arrests and previous attempts to find her, her body has never been found and nobody has ever been charged with a crime related to her disappearance.

Now police are excavating a field near Kettering, Northamptonshire, after what they describe as “significant” new intelligence came to light.

A 70m by 70m area of land is being looked at by police in the area just off Deeble Road with the work expected to last for up to weeks.

The excavation will be assisted by forensic archaeologists, while penetration radar equipment will be used to assess any movement on the section of land under investigation, reports Northants Live.

Detective Superintendent Joe Banfield, who is leading the operation, said: “We have received significant intelligence which has pointed us to this site as a possible area of interest.

“Sarah went missing more than 21 years ago now, but we have never given up trying to find her body and, potentially, tracing her killer or killers.

“We have informed Sarah’s family and they are supportive of the operation being carried out today. We will be in close contact with them as the excavation unfolds, but we request that members of the media do not try to contact them.

“Clearly someone out there knows what happened to Sarah all those years ago and we would urge anyone with new information to contact us on 101 or, in confidence, via the Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.”

Anyone with information relating to Sarah’s disappearance can contact the police, quoting incident number 359 of 10/11/2021.

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