Police search house and woods in Kent and tow away car after arresting policeman over Sarah Everard disappearance: Marketing executive's family 'shocked' as officer who was off duty at time she vanished is held
- Sarah Everard 'vanished into thin air' after leaving a friend's house in south London last week
- Metropolitan Police officer was last night arrested in Kent in connection with the disappearance
- Woman was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and is detained at a London police station
Police looking for missing Sarah Everard were today combing through woodland and the £200,000 house in Deal, Kent belonging to the serving Metropolitan Police officer and woman they arrested.
Forensic investigators were carefully searching the area as a tent set up to preserve evidence was put up outside the property.
The arrested pair's £20,000 black Seat Exeo estate car was also collected by a low loader truck and taken away as part of the fast developing missing person's probe.
Police say the officer arrested was not on duty at the time of her disappearance and had not been involved in the week-long effort to find her.
Sarah, a 33-year-old marketing executive, 'vanished into thin air' after leaving a friend's house in Clapham, south London at around 9pm on Wednesday, March 3.
Her stunned uncle Nicholas told MailOnline: 'It's shocking and very upsetting. We were not expecting a development like this and it's difficult to make sense of it.
'I found out that a police officer had been arrested through the media last night. I spoke to my brother straight away and he was as shocked as me. The whole family is and all our friends. I spoke to him again this morning and we are waiting for an update from the police.
'The police are doing everything they can and we are grateful to them. We are expecting an update from them later today. I could never have imagined that the investigation could have taken such an unexpected twist.'
Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave this morning refused to say what the officer had been arrested on suspicion of, in a departure from usual arrest details disclosed by police forces.
But he did say outside Scotland Yard: 'Our inquiries suggest that this officer was not on duty at the time of Sarah's disappearance.'
Mr Ephgrave would not say if the officer was known to Ms Everard. The Metropolitan Police officer, arrested in Kent in connection with the disappearance, today remained in custody at a London police station.
A woman was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender at the same location and was also detained at a London police station.
Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin said: 'This is a significant development in our inquiry. This is a fast moving investigation and we are doing everything we can to find Sarah.
'We have seen an overwhelming response from the public and I repeat my request for anyone with information that may be relevant to come forward, no matter how insignificant it may seem.'
Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave added: 'The arrest this evening is a serious and significant development.
'We will continue to work with all speed on this investigation but the fact that the arrested man is a serving Metropolitan Police officer is both shocking and deeply disturbing.
'I understand there will be significant public concern but it is essential that the investigative team are given the time and space to continue their work.'
The Metropolitan Police added the Directorate of Professional Standards is aware of the arrests and Sarah's family has been notified of the developments.
Miss Everard vanished after leaving a friend's home in Leathwaite Road, Clapham to walk home to Brixton at around 9pm last Wednesday.
She was last seen wearing a green rain jacket, navy blue trousers with a white diamond pattern and turquoise and orange trainers. It is also believed she was wearing green earphones and a white beanie hat.
Footage from a doorbell camera last captured images of Miss Everand as she walked along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill at around 9.30pm.
Officers yesterday sealed off a block of flats as they began a forensic investigation close to where the Durham University graduate was last seen.
A short stretch of the South Circular was closed along Poynders Road, where the block of flats are, between Cavendish Road and Rodenhurst Road.
Forensic officers were seen looking through hedges and along the street as they searched for any evidence that could aid them in their search.
The Met also yesterday released two new images of the missing woman.
Met Police tweeted on Tuesday: 'Were you driving in the Poynders Road area after 9.30pm on Wednesday 3rd March?
'PLEASE check and double check your dash and door cams for footage.'
The search continued after it was revealed Miss Everard spent a quarter of an hour on the phone making plans to see her boyfriend Josh Lowth the following day, before her mobile was either switched off or ran out of battery.
Mr Lowth, 33, whose LinkedIn says he is Marketing Director at MA Exhibitions, later raised the alarm to police when she failed to meet him as she had arranged, her aunt confirmed.
Speaking at Mr Lowth's family home in Sidcup, Kent, his father Chris told MailOnline: 'We are concerned, like everybody is. We really, really want to see her back.'
'The whole family is obviously very worried about her and just wants her home safely.
'We're all pulling together and praying that this awful situation is quickly resolved. We want to thank the media for all their help.'
Mr Lowth shared a Facebook post appealing for anyone who knows where Miss Everand is to get in touch with police.
He wrote: 'Sarah is still missing. Please share this post to help us to find her. Today, more than ever, we miss our strong, beautiful friend.'
The 33-year-old is understood to have left her friend's house through a back gate onto the A205 South Circular at around 9pm on March 3.
She then began walking to her home address in Brixton, and should have returned home 50 minutes later.
Miss Everard was last seen on CCTV at around 9.30pm last Wednesday.
Her father Jeremy, 67, a professor of electronics at York University, and mother Sue, 64, a charity worker, are understood to have travelled to London from their home in York. They are being helped in the search by her sister Katie and brother James.
In a statement, the family said: 'With every day that goes by we are getting more worried about Sarah.
'She is always in regular contact with us and with her friends and it is totally out of character for her to disappear like this.
'We long to see her and want nothing more than for her to be found safe and well.
'We are so grateful to the police and all our friends for all they are doing.
'We are desperate for news and if anyone knows anything about what has happened to her, we would urge you to please come forward and speak to the police. No piece of information is too insignificant.'
Ahead of the arrests on Tuesday, Ms Goodwin, who is leading the investigation, said there was no information to suggest Ms Everard had 'come to any harm'.
She added: 'We've released two new images of Sarah as we continue to search for her.
'Please take a look at them and consider if you saw her on the night she went missing. I am interested in hearing from people who may have been in the area from 9.30pm onward.
'I want to remain clear that at this time we have no information to suggest that Sarah has come to any harm and we retain an open mind as to the circumstances.
'We share the wish of her family and friends to have her back safely with her loved ones.'
Police said they had received more than 120 calls from the public and visited 750 homes as part of their investigation into Miss Everard's disappearance.
Ms Goodwin added: 'We have seized a number of CCTV recordings but we know that there are likely to be many more out there.
'Please, even if you're not sure, check your doorbell or CCTV footage just in case it holds a clue.
'I'm also asking delivery drivers or anyone with dashcam footage who would have been in the Poynders Road area at approximately 9.30pm on Wednesday to come forward.'
The investigation is being treated as a missing person's enquiry, but due to its complex nature it is being led by the Met's Specialist Crime Command.
Superintendent Kris Wright, from the Met's Central South Area Command Unit which covers Clapham, said on Tuesday: 'I know that Sarah's disappearance is weighing on people's minds and the local community is, of course, concerned about her and may even feel worried.
'I want them to know that they should expect to see more police officers on patrol in the area as we continue to search for Sarah and talk with the community. If you want to approach them about any concerns you have, please do so.
'We are here to support the community and we genuinely want to help in any way we can.'
Anyone who has seen Sarah or who has information that may assist the investigation should call the Incident Room on 0208 785 8244.
Information can also be provided to detectives using the Major Incident Portal or by calling Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.