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EXCLUSIVE: Death of missing student Layla Blake being treated as 'unexpected' - police says why no appeal for information was issued during search

THE death of a college student whose body was found three days after she went missing is being treated as "unexpected" by police and remains under investigation.

Layla Jean Blake (above) was last seen on Friday, February 16, and reported missing the following day, with relatives saying it was "out of character."

They posted appeals on social media to find the 17-year-old from Southminster, who was studying Public Services at Chelmsford College.

However, her body was found in the Southminster area on Monday.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "Her death is under active investigation and is being treated as unexpected.”

Her brother Chris Blake had posted during the search: "My little sister Layla still hasn't been found its been nearly 36 hours without contact to anyone.

"Please could you share this post as much as possible to give us the best chance at finding her, we really appreciate all the help so far. Let get her home!

He later updated: "Please keep getting this out there we're at a stand still with no leads coming in and very few updates from Essex Police - Maldon District. I'm sure they're working hard but we're all worried sick it's been this long."

Her sister Jessica Blake also posted: "Essex Police - Maldon District Essex Police 14 hours of no contact from the police about our missing sister what is going on?"

The force spokesman added: "In any missing persons investigation, a media appeal is one of a number of strategies considered as part of ongoing enquiries.

“Consideration for issuing a media appeal, and at what stage of an investigation a media appeal is released, is undertaken on a case by case basis and is dependent on other outstanding activity.

"No referral has been made to the Independent Office of Police Conduct at this stage.”

On, Tuesday, February 13, another relative posted: "Our beautiful Layla (above) was found in the early hours of Monday morning and is no longer with us.

"We as a family, all of her friends, and everyone that knew our Layla will be devastated.

"Please respect and give all our family and friends time to process this and please all support one another."

The body has yet to be formerly identified and no details have been released on any cause of death.

The spokesman said: "We were contacted at about 3.35am on Saturday February 10 with reports a 17-year-old girl, Layla Jean Blake was missing from an address in Southminster, and a missing persons investigation was launched.

On Monday February 12, a body was discovered and the search for Layla was suspended.

"Formal identification has yet to take place, but Layla’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers."

After it was announced a body had been found, school and college friend Jay Onslow (pictured together above) posted an emotional message to Layla on Facebook.

He wrote: "I never in the 13 years of our friendship thought that I’d be saying goodbye to you Layla! 💔 I miss you so much I’d do anything just be with you again for one last time, I treasure every memory I have with you I will always remember the trouble we caused, the laughter we’d have and the crys we’d have the random conversations at 12 at night when your message me having a go at me because sea lions were being captured like it was my fault 😂.

Again I love you so much Layla, there is so much more I want to say but I’ll keep it inside my heart to help patch up the hole you’ve left. And there is more I want to say but I can’t put it in words.

I hope your sleeping peacefully my number one bestfriend, my “day1” my partner in crime.

I love you Layla sleep tight you beautiful angel 🤍🕊️💔."


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