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Joanna Yeates' parents say a tearful goodbye

By This is Bath  |  Posted: December 28, 2010

  • Joanna Yeates' parents paid their respects yesterday at the site where her body was found

  • David and Theresa Yeates lay flowers at Longwood Lane, where their daughter's body was found

  • Joanna Yeates was last seen on December 17 leaving the Ram pub in Bristol

  • David and Teresa Yeates leave flowers

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Police are understood to be investigating the possibility Joanna Yeates may have frozen to death on the lonely country lane where she was found.

Sources say her body had no "obvious" injuries and detectives are considering the possibility she may have frozen to death after falling unconscious.

The results of a post-mortem examination – delayed because of the frozen state of her body – are expected to be announced today.

It is then that police could reveal a cause of death and possibly when they believe she arrived at the lane in Failand, three miles from her home in Clifton, Bristol.

There is a possibility they could announce a murder inquiry at some point.

Yesterday, her distraught family made a harrowing visit to where their daughter's body was found.

United in grief, David and Theresa Yeates laid a bunch of yellow roses at the roadside verge where their daughter's frozen body was found on Christmas Day.

They were accompanied by her boyfriend Greg Reardon – who left a bunch of red and white carnations – along with her brother Chris and his girlfriend. The group wiped away tears as they hugged at the spot for five emotional minutes, though they did not speak publicly.

Miss Yeates, known to friends as Jo, vanished after leaving a Christmas drinks party with work colleagues in the Ram pub in Park Street, Bristol, on December 17.

Her body was formally identified by her parents, who had travelled to Bristol from their home near Romsey, Hampshire, before they visited the lane where her body was found.

Avon and Somerset Police spokesman Darren Bane said: "The difficult conditions in which she was found, particularly the frozen condition of her body, means that the postmortem has still not been concluded."

Her body was found by two dog walkers at 9am on Christmas Day on Longwood Lane near Long Ashton, North Somerset.

The road lies between two golf courses – Long Ashton Golf Club and Bristol and Clifton Golf Club – and Durnford Quarry.

Yesterday David, 63, and Theresa, 58, arrived at the scene at around 2.30pm and walked arm-in-arm along the lane while flanked by three police officers.

After laying flowers they had an emotional hug with Greg, 27, Miss Yeates brother Chris and his girlfriend.

They then walked a further 200 yards up the lane to the exact spot where she was found, which is sealed off for forensic examinations.

The group walked back down the hill 10 minutes later, with Mrs Yeates clasping a tissue to her face as the tears spilled down her cheeks.

They embraced one last time before departing in convoy. Longwood Lane is around three miles from the flat Miss Yeates, 25, shared with Greg and close to the sprawling Ashton Court Estate.

The body was clothed and partially covered in leaves and snow, it is believed.

On Sunday Avon and Somerset Police said officers were "satisfied" the body was Miss Yeates and the death was "suspicious". A police source said yesterday: "There were no obvious injuries when officers found her body – no stab wounds or big marks.

"I would not be surprised if the cause of death turns out to be hypothermia."

Landscape architect Miss Yeates left The Ram pub on Park Street, Bristol, at 8pm on Friday, December 17 after drinks with colleagues from the Building Design Partnership.

During the one-mile walk home she stopped at a Waitrose store, where she bought nothing, and then a Tesco Express store in Regent Street, Clifton.

CCTV footage released by police shows Jo using a self-service checkout to pay for the Tesco Finest mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto pizza.

It is the last known sighting of the graduate alive.

Her keys, coat and mobile phone were all found at the flat in Canynge Road but detectives are still searching for the pizza and its wrapping, which has become crucial to the case.

Detectives say there were no signs of forced entry – but Jo's parents say they were immediately convinced that she had been abducted when they saw the state of the £200,000 flat.

Father David said: "We were 100 per cent convinced within 30 minutes of arriving at the flat that she had been abducted.

"We had grave concerns based on what was in the flat. We knew she had not gone of her own volition."

Anyone who can help with the investigation should contact the police at the incident room on 0845 4567000.

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