Police continue search for missing baby in Brighton as couple remains in custody

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The search for a missing baby has continued after police arrested a couple, Constance Marten and Mark Gordon, in Brighton.

The duo was arrested in Stanmer Villas at around 21:30 on Monday, 27 February, after a member of the public saw them in a shop in Hollingbury Place and contacted the police.

Police arrested the couple on suspicion of child neglect. The charges were later upgraded to gross negligence manslaughter as officers expressed worry for the missing baby.

Constance and Mark remain in custody at a police station in Sussex.

MET police at the scene of the search
MET police at the scene of the search

Officers have been searching Roedal Valley Allotments close to the location the couple was arrested.

Police helicopters, sniffer dogs, thermal imaging, cameras and drones have been deployed to assist over 200 officers from multiple units in the Met and Sussex in search of the baby.

An investigation was first launched after police were called to a vehicle on fire on the hard shoulder of the M61, near junction four (Farnworth, Bolton) at 18:33hrs on Thursday, 5 January.

The couple was not at the scene when the police arrived. Investigators believed most of their belongings were destroyed in the car fire.

Police gathered that Constance and Mark were the vehicle's occupants and that Constance had just given birth two days before the incident without medical attention.

A missing person's investigation was launched by Greater Manchester Police, who established that the family left the vehicle and the motorway safely – walking to the Anchor Lane bridge, which links the Highfield and Little Hulton areas.

Mark, Constance and a baby were seen by a member of the public in Harwich at about 09:00hrs on Saturday, 7 January. Officers also received a number of confirmed sightings of the family in Colchester on Friday, 6 January and Saturday, 7 January.

Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford said:"Throughout this investigation, our key priority has been finding the baby, and we remain committed to that. There is a significant amount of police search activity in open spaces to the north of Brighton near where the couple were arrested last night.

"Before the arrest, the last known sighting of the couple was in Newhaven on Wednesday, 8 January.. I'm therefore appealing to members of the public between Brighton and Newhaven to report any potential sightings or information about where they may have been sleeping. I'd also ask people living in these areas to report any suspicious behaviour or items found in their gardens, outbuildings and sheds between then and now.

"Equally, if you are out walking in these areas and you discover something you think we should know about, please don't hesitate to contact us, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Support from the public is vital, and we ask people to remain vigilant.

"We have received a large number of phone calls from members of the public during the investigation. I would like to thank everyone who has come forward with information to assist us, especially the person who quickly called the police last night after spotting Constance and Mark. Our colleagues from Sussex Police were on the scene within minutes to make the arrest. We are very grateful for the support they are providing.

"Anyone with any sightings or information that could assist the search is asked to call the incident room on 0208 3453 865 or 999 with anything they believe may be significant.

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