Missing Natasha: Body found

POLICE searching for missing 17-year-old Natasha Coombs have found a body close to a railway line.The body was discovered near the track at Manningtree on Friday, police said.

POLICE searching for missing 17-year-old Natasha Coombs have found a body close to a railway line.

The body was discovered near the track at Manningtree on Friday , police said.

It was located about a mile on the London side of Manningtree station, in undergrowth.

An Essex Police spokesman said the body had not been identified. It was believed to be that of a woman.

Trains were halted in the area and police prevented passengers from going on to the platform at Manningtree.

A spokesman from rail operator 'one' said: “The police have asked us to stop running trains between Colchester and Ipswich. That was from 7.30pm.”

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Rail replacement buses were organised for passengers.

Police cordons were put in place, including one at the junction of Harwich Road and Dedham Road, as specialist officers moved in to the scene.

Natasha, from Dovercourt, vanished after boarding a late night train from Ipswich on Friday, July 27.

She had been out for a meal with friends at the Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant in Ipswich's Cardinal Park on the night of her disappearance.

Police believe she might have been upset about the separation from her boyfriend on the night she went missing.

On Friday her former boyfriend Joshua Brennan, 18, made an emotional appeal for help in finding her.

He said the couple separated two weeks before her disappearance, but had hoped that absence would "make the heart grow fonder".

A spokeswoman for British Transport Police said the body was found close to Manningtree railway station.

“Officers are at the scene and senior officers are making their way there,” she said.

Natasha caught the 10.42pm train from Ipswich on July 27. Her mobile phone was switched off at 11.19pm and that was the last trace police had of her.

Officers conducted searches of land near Manningtree station and the Lawford Dale area during the early stages of the search operation but failed to find any trace of her.

Essex police had organised officers to revisit Ipswich and Manningtree stations between 7pm and midnight on Friday in the hope of finding passengers who had been on the same train as Natasha exactly a fortnight before on the night she went missing.

For full story see today's Evening Star.