Murder probe launched as search for missing Katie Kenyon goes on

A 50-year-old man from Burnley who is being questioned on suspicion of kidnap has been further arrested on suspicion of murder.

26 April 2022

The disappearance of a missing woman is now being treated as murder with only a “slim hope” she is alive, police said.

More than 60 specialist search officers from four police forces are scouring a rural beauty spot in Lancashire for 33-year-old Katie Kenyon.

A 50-year-old man from Burnley who is being questioned on suspicion of kidnap has been further arrested on suspicion of murder.

Detective are set to ask magistrates for further time to quiz the suspect who is said to be known to Ms Kenyon.

Missing Katie Kenyon
Katie Kenyon, from Padiham, Burnley, has not been seen by her family since last Friday morning (Lancashire Police/PA)

The mother-of-two, from Padiham in Burnley, has not been seen by her worried family since last Friday morning.

The hunt, involving search dogs and a plane, is focused on the dense Gisburn Forest in the Ribble Valley, said to be the largest wooded area in the county – measuring more than 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres, or more than 4.6 square miles) – and  popular with walkers and cyclists.

Officers from the Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and North Wales police forces are combing the area, assisted by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team.

At about 9.30am on Friday, a woman matching Ms Kenyon’s description left an address on Todmorden Road in the town with a man and travelled in a silver Ford Transit, registration MT57 FLC, to the Bolton-by-Bowland area of north Lancashire.

She has not been seen since.

Det Supt Gary Brooks, Lancashire Police’s head of major crime, said: “While I hold some slim hope that Katie may still be found alive I’m sad to say that Katie has now been missing for over four days.

“Despite extensive police enquiries and media appeals we have not found Katie nor have there been any sightings of Katie.

“We have spoken to Katie’s family today and they are understandably extremely upset by this latest development and I have officers continuing to offer them support. My thoughts are with them at this time.

“I am really grateful for all the help that members of the public have given us so far and I would continue to appeal to anyone who has any information, however small, to come forward and speak to us. While we do have someone under arrest our enquiries are very much ongoing.

“We are continuing to search a number of different locations in connection with this investigation, including at Gisburn Forest and I am grateful to colleagues from Merseyside and North Wales, and other emergency service partners who are offering assistance in the these complex and wide-scale searches.

“I am aware that many members of the public have offered to help us in those searches and while I am grateful for that I would dissuade anyone from doing so. The area we are searching is very large and remote with no phone signal.

“The police teams are trained professionals who are used to doing this sort of work and I would hate for someone to get lost or come to harm while trying to help. Please leave it to us.”

Missing Katie Kenyon
Lancashire Constabulary are asking for information about a silver Ford Transit van, registration MT57 FLC (Lancashire Police/PA)

Police previously issued a photograph of the silver Transit van – found in Burnley – and are continuing to appeal for anyone who saw the vehicle, or has dashcam footage, to come forward.

Ms Kenyon is described as white, 5ft 9in, with shoulder-length strawberry blonde/ginger hair.

She was last seen wearing a blue shirt or jacket and white vest top, black leggings and flip flops.

Her family, who say her disappearance is out of character, are being supported by specially trained officers.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting log 800 of April 24 or you can contact us through the Major Incident Public Portal at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/0401020119P01-PO1

Alternatively, contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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