The parents of missing April Jones have spoken of their pain at realising they will never see their daughter alive again.
More than 10 weeks after the schoolgirl was snatched from the estate where she lived, Coral and Paul Jones gave an insight yesterday into the nightmare they continue to live.
Five-year-old April was last seen playing out on the Bryn-y-Gog estate at Machynlleth, mid Wales, on October 1.
She had been allowed to play out late on her bike after getting a glowing school report.
Massive efforts to find her body somewhere in the rugged terrain around the close-knit mid Wales town where she lived continue unabated.
Supt Ian John vowed yesterday that the search would continue on the same scale and with equal numbers into the new year.
The man heading the search efforts was speaking at a press conference in Machynlleth where he also announced the search would stop for two weeks during the festive break.
He also paid tribute to April’s parents, saying: “The Jones family have shown great strength of character throughout their ordeal as they have come to terms with the fact that they will not see their daughter alive again.
“Showing great dignity and resilience they chose to maintain their privacy and chose to focus on their family and making sure they get through these tough times together.”
The latest emotional words from April’s parents were read out by Mr John.
“It has been 10 weeks since April, our beautiful little girl, was taken from us and the pain of our tragic loss doesn’t get any easier to bear,” they said.
“With support, we are taking each day at a time. The police family liaison team are helping us to get on with everyday life as well as keeping us up to date with the search plans and the work being done to prepare for the court case.
“The messages and support from all over the world have continued and we remain grateful that we are in people’s thoughts and prayers. The empathy shown towards us by not only local people but those from afar has shown us that people really do come together during difficult times.
“We are extremely grateful to Dyfed Powys Police for their continued efforts to find April. The dedication and determination shown by the search teams who have come from all over the UK has been truly amazing. We take comfort to think that they will be returning to their families to earn a well deserved rest over the Christmas and New Year period.
“We understand that Christmas will be a particularly difficult time without April being amongst us but as parents of Harley and Jazmin we will obviously acknowledge the festive season as best as we can. We sincerely hope that families around the world will enjoy a peaceful and loving Christmas.”