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Police investigating the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence have revealed they are searching gravel pits eight miles from her home.
The chef, who was 35 at the time, disappeared on March 18, 2009, in Heworth, near York.
North Yorkshire Police have conducted two investigations and interviewed nine people in relation to her disappearance, though no one has ever been charged.
Officers believe she was murdered despite no body being found.
North Yorkshire Police confirmed on Tuesday, August 24, that an operation has begun to search the gravel pits at Sand Hutton, to the east of York.
Speaking at the scene, Detective Superintendent Wayne Fox, who took over as senior investigating officer in the case earlier this year, said: "The searches which have commenced here today at Sand Hutton Gravel Pits are in relation to the disappearance and suspected murder of Claudia Lawrence more than 12 years ago.
"While I cannot say at this stage how long the search may take, I do anticipate that a number of specialist officers and staff, including underwater search teams, and forensic experts are likely to be at this location for a number of days.
"Whilst I am unable to disclose what brought us to this location, I would like to stress that the searches that you will see in coming days are just one of several active lines of inquiry which are currently being investigated and pursued by North Yorkshire Police Major Investigation team in our efforts to establish what happened to Claudia and to identify any person responsible for causing her harm.
"I can confirm Claudia's family are aware this activity is taking place."
Claudia's dad Peter died in February this year aged 74 without ever finding out what happened to his daughter.
He campaigned tirelessly for the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill, also known as Claudia's Law, which allows relatives to take control of their missing loved ones' financial matters.
It came into force in 2019.
Before Peter's death, his friend Martin Dales called on anyone with information to come forward.
He said that despite the “exhaustive efforts of … Peter, family, friends and North Yorkshire police, there are still no answers and it is tragic that Peter has died not knowing what has happened to her.”
In March, her mum said she cried when she heard of the disappearance of Sarah Everard.
“It brought back all the memories of the weekend when Claudia went missing,” Joan Lawrence told the Daily Mirror.
“I know exactly how her parents are feeling … It’s the worst possible pain.”
The only things missing from Claudia's home were her mobile phone, chef’s whites and rucksack, suggesting she had left for work before she vanished.
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- Missing Person
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