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Mother begs for help to find abducted daughter in Wales

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Wed October 3, 2012
Coral Jones speaks at a press conference. appealing for the return of her 5-year-old daughter April Jones on Wednesday.
Coral Jones speaks at a press conference. appealing for the return of her 5-year-old daughter April Jones on Wednesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "There must be someone out there who knows where she is," says April's mother
  • Coral Jones sobs as she pleads for information leading to the missing five-year-old
  • April Jones was abducted from the street near her home in a small mid-Wales town
  • Police appeal for details on the movements of 46-year-old Mark Bridger

(CNN) -- The distraught mother of a missing five-year-old girl broke down in sobs Wednesday as she pleaded for help to find her daughter, April Jones, who was snatched from a street in Wales as she played.

Coral Jones' televised appeal for information was brief but heart-rending in its desperation.

"It has been 36 hours since our April was taken from us," she said, her voice shaky with emotion. "There must be someone out there who knows where she is and can help the police find her.

"We are desperate for any news -- April is only five years old. Please, please help us find her."

Coral Jones was led away from the news conference in tears.

Police urged the public to share any piece of information that could lead them to the little girl, who was last seen playing with a friend near her home in a small mid-Wales town Monday.

No trace of April has been found since she apparently got into a vehicle that stopped on the street and then drove off.

Wednesday, police identified a man arrested the day before on suspicion of abduction as 46-year-old Mark Bridger. The force also released images of Bridger and a vehicle and appealed for help to trace his movements between Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon.

Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said officers "are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry, and Mark Bridger is one of them."

He also called on anyone who has any information about the case to contact authorities and end the family's nightmare.

"Please call us," he said. "Don't assume someone else has contacted us -- even the smallest piece of information could be crucial to the investigation."

Meanwhile, police, mountain rescue teams and dozens of volunteers continue to scour the town of Machynlleth, the surrounding countryside and the nearby River Dyfi -- fast-flowing after recent rain -- for any trace of the girl.

One photograph released by the police shows a pretty, brown-haired child smiling as she shows off a pink summer dress, another has her peering up at the camera shyly, her arm colored with paint.

Her abduction from the street as she played on her bike with a friend has stunned what police say is a close-knit local community. The only witnesses were other children, who police had to question sensitively.

And the usually quiet market town of just over 2,000 people, set in a remote corner of rural Wales, is now at the heart of a manhunt that has gripped the nation since the first reports that the little girl had gone missing.

The owner of one local garage, Nerys Zjalic, told CNN by telephone Tuesday that she had opened her garage to supply fuel to motorists who were searching for the girl, and had not closed it since.

"Last night people were coming all the way from Caernarfon, which is 80 miles away in North Wales, after hearing about the abduction on Facebook," she said.

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Powell said Tuesday that police were following several lines of inquiry.

"April was last seen playing on a bicycle near her home address at around 7.30 p.m. and was seen getting into what we believe was a light-colored van which then drove off," Powell said.

Police are expected to give another news conference later Wednesday.

Coral Jones' latest plea for help comes only a day after she and April's father made a direct appeal to whoever had taken their daughter to bring her back.

"Last night our lives were shattered when our beautiful little girl April... was taken from us. We are devastated and our lives have stopped," a statement from them said Tuesday.

"Please, please, if you have our little girl let her come home to us."

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