A murder investigation has been launched by the police after the discovery of human remains on New Year’s Eve at a pond in Harlow. Officers made the grim discovery after they were called just before 2pm on Saturday (December 31) by a member of the public who reported a suspicious object in the water at Oakwood Pond.
Forensic officers have since confirmed what was found to be human remains, according to Essex Police.
Det Supt Rob Kirby, Head of Major Crime at the force, said in a statement: “Through our inquiries at the scene and due to the circumstances in which the remains have been found, we believe this person’s death is suspicious and, as such, have started a murder investigation.
“The investigation is in the early stages and we have a large team of dedicated officers working around the clock on it.
“Specialist officers have been carrying out searches in the area and will continue to do so over the coming days. This includes looking to drain the pond to identify any potentially crucial evidence.”
A cordon has been in place around the pond since the remains were found, with the investigation being led by the Essex and Kent Serious Crime Directorate.
Councilor Russell Perrin, who leads Harlow Council, said: “I am shocked and saddened as this awful situation has developed within one of our pond areas in the town. I know that this is a concerning time for our residents and the police are working hard to establish what has happened.”
He added: “There has been contact between the police and the council and our permission has been given for the pond to be drained as part of the investigation. We continue to support the police and it is important that they are given as much time as they need to find out what happened.
“The police will be keeping us and the community updated on their investigation. Cordons around the area will remain in place over the coming days. We ask that residents continue to respect the cordons that are in place.”
Searches around the area, in Fourth Avenue, have been carried out by specialist officers searching for “potentially crucial” evidence, according to Det Supt Kirby.
There will be an increased police presence in the area “for several days to come” due to the “complex” operation of draining the pond.
Anyone with information or footage relating to the incident is urged to contact Essex Police, quoting incident 582 of December 31.