Police desperately searching Moors Valley forest for missing man, 39, find body

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Police desperately searching a Hampshire forest for a missing man have found a body.

As reported, armed police, a helicopter and dogs were part of a massive hunt to find David Cooper, 39, on Thursday evening in the Ringwood Forest and Moors Valley Country Park and Forest areas in Ashley Heath, Ringwood. He was last seen at 6.05am on Wednesday, July 26, in Capstone Road, Bournemouth.

Dorset Police had thought David was travelling in a white Ford Transit van, which was found empty near Moors Valley. Around 12 marked and unmarked police cars attended the scene and blocked the entrance to the forest.

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Police scene: Peter Byrne/PA WirePolice scene: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Police scene: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Horton Road in Ashley Heath, where the entrance to Moors Valley is located, was partially blocked as police combed the area while the helicopter scoured the area from up above.

Now police have revealed a body has been found. A statement from the force said: “A body has very sadly been found in Ashley Heath and is believed to be that of missing David Cooper from Bournemouth. Dorset Police received a report at 6.23pm on Saturday 29 July 2023 that a body had been found in Ashley Heath.

“While the body has not yet been formally identified, it is believed to be that of David – who was reported missing having last been seen on Wednesday 26 July. His family has been informed. The death is not being treated as suspicious and HM Coroner has been notified.”

Inspector Joe Wheable, of Dorset Police, said: “Our thoughts are with David’s family and loved ones at this extremely difficult time and officers are doing all they can to support them.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the searches, especially all the search volunteers including those from our neighbouring counties.”