A serving British police officer has been arrested on suspicion of kidnap and murder following the disappearance of Sarah Everard, a London woman who has been missing for a week.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed Wednesday that the man—who has been identified as a 40-year-old officer who routinely patrolled government buildings—was detained Tuesday in connection with the disappearance of Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive.
“The fact that the arrested man is a serving Metropolitan police officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing,” Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said Wednesday, adding that he understands the “significant public concern” that the development has caused.
On Wednesday evening, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick revealed that officers searching for Everard “have found very sadly what appears to be human remains” in the woodlands in Kent. Everard went missing after leaving a friend’s house in south London last Wednesday night.
“The discovery was made in an area of woodland in Ashford in Kent. As you can imagine at this early stage we are not able to confirm any identity and indeed that may take us some considerable time,” Dick said, adding that the news that an officer was arrested in connection to Everard’s case has “sent shockwaves and anger” through London and the Metropolitan police force.
Police said the officer, who has not yet been identified, was detained at an address in Kent, in the south of England. The cop was first arrested on suspicion of kidnap, and then, on Wednesday, on suspicion of murder and a separate indecent-exposure allegation. An unidentified woman, who is said to be in her 30s, was also arrested at the same location on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Both are in custody at a London police station.
According to the police force, the officer worked in the specialist Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection branch, which serves London’s government and diplomatic buildings. It’s not known if the officer knew Everard before her disappearance, and investigators do not think he was on duty at the time Everard vanished last week.
Everard was last seen around 9:30 p.m. on March 3 leaving her friend’s house in southwest London on a doorbell camera. Police say she was last seen crossing Clapham Common park, which is among the countless areas around London and Kent investigators have scoured over the last week. Police believe she was heading home, but she never arrived.
A house in Deal has also been searched in the investigation, where officers were seen removing cars from the property and taking photos of the garage, according to Sky News.
“This is a significant development in our inquiry. This is a fast-moving investigation and we are doing everything we can to find Sarah,” Metropolitan Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin. The detective urged people to come forward with any information that could be relevant to the case, “no matter how insignificant it may seem.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his thoughts were “with Sarah and her friends and family.” Police said Everard's family will be kept updated on new developments.