Prayers for April as search goes on

Private prayers have been said for April Jones as the desperate search for the schoolgirl continues.

Hope turned to despair as prime suspect Mark Bridger was arrested for murder and the prospect of finding April alive receded.

Officers were granted a further 24 hours to question the 46-year-old over the five-year-old's disappearance. It means police have until 3.30pm on Saturday to quiz him further before they either have to charge or release him.

On Friday night police said efforts to find April would not be scaled back as emergency services including the Coastguard, RNLI, RAF mountain rescue and 150 members of mountain rescue teams from across the UK continued the hunt.

April, who suffers from cerebral palsy and needs medication, was last seen getting into what is believed to have been a Land Rover Discovery of her own free will near her home on Monday evening. She was playing on the Bryn-y-Gog estate in the Mid Wales market town of Machynlleth, where she lives, as a treat for receiving a glowing report at school.

Mother Coral Jones, 40, and her husband Paul Jones, 44, had attended the nearby primary school's parents evening less than one hour before. Bridger, who also has children at the school, was there around the same time as a parent. His blue left-hand drive Land Rover Discovery was seized by police after his arrest and is being forensically examined.

The arrest for murder signals a change in the chances of finding April alive. Bridger was initially arrested on suspicion of abduction on Tuesday.

As the round-the-clock search continued into a fifth consecutive night, police are hoping more information will come through in the next 24 hours.

Emergency services including the Coastguard, RNLI, RAF mountain rescue and 150 members of mountain rescue teams from across the UK are all taking part in the search. They are liaising with more than 60 specially trained search officers.

Superintendent Ian John said: "Despite the developments of our investigation, our focus here remains on finding April and the search continues."