Missing Natasha: Body near track

POLICE searching for missing teen Natasha Coombs are today investigating whether a body found close to a railway line is that of the 17-year-old.The body was discovered yesterday in undergrowth near the track close to Manningtree, a fortnight after Natasha went missing after a night out in Ipswich.

POLICE searching for missing teen Natasha Coombs are today investigating whether a body found close to a railway line is that of the 17-year-old.

The body was discovered yesterday in undergrowth near the track close to Manningtree, a fortnight after Natasha went missing after a night out in Ipswich.

It was found about a mile away from Manningtree station, towards London. A train driver alerted police search teams to the area after spotting something from a train.

Friends of Natasha, a former East Bergholt High School student from Fronks Road, Dovercourt, gathered at the station and were seen crying and hugging last night.

The location of the body, thought to be that of a woman, along a section of the track with poor access was causing difficulties with its removal today. It remained in place by the track this morning and was likely to be there most of the day.

An Essex police spokesman today said: “They are very hazardous working conditions. We anticipate the body will be recovered today and a post mortem will take place.”

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It is understood formal identification would not take place until after the body was removed.

An Essex police spokeswoman said the body was found by a British Transport Police search team.

She said: “A train driver who had seen all the publicity had noticed something and a team was making a search.”

Trains were halted in the area after the body was discovered at about 7.30pm yesterday and police prevented passengers from going on to the platform at Manningtree following the discovery.

A spokesman from rail operator 'one' said police had asked the company to stop running trains between Colchester and Ipswich.

One passenger, Billy Carnell, from South Africa, said: “We got through to Ipswich and were told the train was not stopping at Manningtree station and that we would have to get to Ipswich and travel back by bus.

“Everyone was saying the police had found a body but that was all anyone knew. We had to wait at Ipswich station before a bus arrived to take us to Manningtree.”

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.

Network Rail staff and police remained at the scene today.

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 Joshua Brennan.

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.

Were you at Manningtree station when the body was found? Do you live near the section of track one mile from Manningtree? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

To send a message of support to Natasha's family visit www.eveningstar.co.uk/Natasha or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

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