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Tia hunt: man quizzed as body found
Stuart Hazell, 37, is thought to have been arrested in a park after being spotted by a member of the public
Detectives investigating the disappearance of missing schoolgirl Tia Sharp are questioning her grandmother's partner on suspicion of murder.
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 Tia's grandmother 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.
Police reportedly removed the body, which is yet to be identified, from the terraced house late on Friday night after Hazell was taken into custody. A post-mortem examination is expected to take place in the coming days.
Hazell was detained in a public place - believed to be a park - at 8.25pm after he was identified by a member of the public, police said. Following his arrest he was filmed by news cameras being driven into Sutton police station in south London handcuffed to a police officer in the back of a car.
The murder suspect, who has said he was the last person to see Tia, was interviewed by police as a witness on Wednesday but then released. A team of forensic officers discovered the body during a fourth search of Tia's grandmother's home, prompting some to ask questions about Scotland Yard's handling of the case.
Commander Neil Basu, the area commander responsible for south-east London, was quick to defend the police investigation and 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."
Police did not reveal where the body was discovered, but officers were seen taking a ladder into the property on Friday afternoon, sparking rumours that it may have been in the loft.