Detectives investigating the disappearance of a baby boy who went missing 11 years ago have arrested two women on suspicion of murder after the boy’s remains were found in boxes in a shed.
The baby, has not been seen for more than a decade, but police have now made three arrests after the discovery of the skeleton in a garden shed of a home in West Hendon, north London.
Officers have arrested a 31-year-old woman, named locally as mother-of-six Victoria Gayle, and a woman named as her former foster carer, Margaret, 50. Detectives only launched the investigation at the request of local officers and the Child Abuse Investigation Team following a case review into the death of another child – believed to have been Ms Gayle’s 16-month-old daughter – at an address in Barnet last year.
The little girl is believed to have died after apparently swallowing a battery.
After that review, officers arrested the older on suspicion of murder at the semi-detached house at 7am on Monday, May, arresting Ms Gayle later that day. Both were bailed to mid-July after being taken to a south London police station.
However, officers then carried out a search of the address following a tip off, and found human remains on Tuesday.
According to The Sun, the skeleton was found in boxes ‘like a Russian doll’ and although they were found in the shed, are thought to have been moved from elsewhere.
The following day detectives rearrested the two women, as well as a 52-year-old man – named locally as Margaret’s partner John Stockwell – on suspicion of preventing a lawful and decent burial.
The older woman has been bailed along with the man to mid-July, while the younger woman remains in police custody.
The dead boy was believed to have been born in Barnet in 2004, but then disappeared. A post-mortem examination on the remains at Great Ormond Street Hospital was inconclusive on the cause of death.
The Metropolitan Police said the case had been referred to its Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) and also to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘Further tests will be undertaken and this could take a number of weeks.
‘We will not speculate on the identity of the child until all further tests have concluded.
‘Given the circumstances which led to the launch of this investigation officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) have been informed.
‘A referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been made.
‘Detectives continue to investigate and are liaising with partner agencies.’
Anyone with any information should contact the homicide and major crime command (HMCC) incident room on 020 8785 8099.