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Police defend schoolgirl Tia probe
Stuart Hazell, 37, is thought to have been arrested in a park after being spotted by a member of the public
Police have defended the investigation into the disappearance of missing schoolgirl Tia Sharp after a body was found at her grandmother's home.
The partner of Tia's grandmother, Stuart Hazell, 37, was arrested in the south London borough of Merton, hours after police launched a manhunt for the suspect and warned members of the public not to approach him.
It came after investigators discovered a body at the home Hazell shares with Christine Sharp in New Addington, near Croydon, south London.
The 12-year-old girl, who was reported missing on Friday, was last seen alive at the property.
Commander Neil Basu, the area commander responsible for south-east London, said the priorities were to support Tia's family and identify the body as quickly as possible.
He said: "Clearly there will be many questions about the investigation into Tia's disappearance and I want to take this opportunity to clarify some of the speculation.
"When police investigate cases as difficult and challenging as this, it is important that we do not just focus on one line of inquiry. For example we had over 60 reported sightings of Tia, 800 hours of CCTV footage to examine and 300 plus calls into the incident room. All of these lines of inquiry were in the process of being followed up."
"A number of searches took place at the address. When Tia was first reported missing, officers searched her bedroom as is normal practice in a missing persons inquiry. A further search of the house took place in the early hours of Sunday morning by a specialist team.
"This was then followed by another search of the house by specialist dogs on Wednesday lunchtime.
"What we now need to establish is how long the body had been in the place where it was found. This will be subject of the ongoing investigation and it would be wrong to jump to any conclusions until all the facts have been established."