LONDON (AP) — Police apologized Saturday to the mother of a missing British schoolgirl after they failed to find the 12-year-old's body in her grandmother's house the first three times they searched it.
Scotland Yard blamed "human error" and said they had made two further arrests in the case of Tia Sharp, whose body was discovered Friday in the house — her last known whereabouts — one week after she disappeared in south London.
Police apologized for "the distress and concern" caused by the delay in finding the girl's body.
Scotland Yard said a 46-year-old woman had been arrested on suspicion of murder and a man, 39, was arrested on suspicion of "assisting an offender."
Neither suspect was identified by name in line with British practice, and police did not disclose what relationship, if any, the suspects had with the victim.
Stuart Hazell, the 37-year-old partner of Tia's grandmother Christine Sharp, has already been arrested following a city-wide manhunt.
The discovery of the body led to anger and disbelief in Britain. The family's frantic search and appeals had even managed to displace much of the feel-good Olympic coverage from the front pages of the nation's tabloids, with at one point The Sun offering 25,000 pounds (nearly $40,000) for the tip that led to the girl's safe return.
The Daily Mirror newspaper asked its readers "WHY DID IT TAKE COPS 8 DAYS?" with the figure 8 outlined in red. The Daily Mail was even more critical, writing under a bold-faced "SHAMBLES" headline: "Despite a week-long hunt by 100 police with dogs, Tia is found dead in her granny's house, which officers had searched THREE times."
Police have not specified exactly where in the house the body was found, but Scotland Yard Commander Neil Basu said Friday they had been juggling several different leads with detectives sifting through 60 sightings of the missing girl, 300 calls, and 800 hours of surveillance footage.
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