April Jones missing: Parents reveal turmoil as police suspend search over Christmas


'The pain from our loss doesn't get any easier to bear': April Jones' parents reveal turmoil as police suspend search over Christmas periodOfficers will scale down hunt for April over Christmas period but say operation is far from overApril's family thank everyone who has supported them as they 'come to terms with the fact that April has been taken from us'

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UPDATED:

12:51 GMT, 12 December 2012

The parents of missing April Jones have spoken of their anguish of spending Christmas without their little girl.

Paul and Coral Jones, whose five-year-old daughter went missing on October 1 after playing outside her home in Machynlleth, Powys, Wales, said: 'We are coming to terms with the fact that our baby girl has been taken from us.'

'It's been ten weeks since April, our beautiful girl, was taken from us.

'The pain from our loss doesn't get any easier to bear.'

'Little monkey': April's family hope the pictures may prompt someone to come forward with information about the whereabouts of the five-year-old

April's family hope these new pictures may prompt someone to come forward with information about the whereabouts of the five-year-old

Poignant pictures: Devastated Mrs Jones called this image 'April the water baby'

Devastated Mrs Jones called this image 'April the water baby'. She has thanked police for their support as they search for her little girl

Their comments came as police hunting
for the schoolgirl, who disappeared ten weeks ago, have
announced they will scale down the operation over the Christmas period.

Supt
Ian John, who is leading the investigation for Dyfed-Powys Police, gave
the update on the operation and read a statement from April's
devastated parents.

The search will start again in the
new year as police tirelessly search for her body, after went
missing on October 1, the officer leading the investigation announced in
a press conference today.

He
read out a statement from her heartbroken parents Coral and Paul, who
thanked the community, police and everyone who sent them messages of
support.

'Christmas will be a particularly difficult time without April being amongst us.

April Jones and mother

April as a toddler

April Jones, seen with her mother, was last seen getting into a vehicle as she played in her home town

Police will continue to search for April

Police will continue to search for April

'But as parents of Harley and Jazmin we will obviously acknowledge the festive season as best we can.

'We sincerely hope that families around the world will enjoy a peaceful and loving Christmas.'

Coral, 40, and Paul, 43, said they were taking each day at a time with the help of police keeping them up to date with the search.

The parents said that the overwhelming amount of supportive and empathetic messages they had received from all over the UK an dtheir local community has 'shown us that people really do come together at difficult times.'

The family also said that those
involved in the search, who have been working from Monday to Friday in
16 search teams, deserved a rest with their families.

Supt John said it was one of the largest search operations in the UK in police history.

He said officers were all united by the hope that they could help the Jones' family.

He said: 'We are all motivated by the same thing, finding a little girl and bringing peace to a family.'

April was last seen near her home on 1 October and since then officers from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England have tried to locate the body of the little girl.

An extensive search has continued, but she has not yet been found.

Supt John said the search would continue until police had investigated all lines of inquiry.

He said: 'The search continues, this is by no means over.

'While it will be scaled down over Christmas, the hard work continues and do all we can to find April.'

But he said it was necessary to reduce the scale of the search over the festive season.

April was last seen getting into a vehicle after playing near her home on the Bryn y Gog estate.

She had been allowed to play outside later than usual as a treat for her glowing school report.

At the end of November April Jones' parents released unseen pictures of the missing five-year-old to mark two months since she disappeared.

Her devastated parents have refused to give up hope she will be found, and an illuminated pink star lit in April's memory is part of the Christmas decorations in her hometown.

Mark Bridger, 46, has been remanded in custody, charged with murder, child abduction and perverting the course of justice.

He is due to appear in court on January 11.