Human remains have been found in the search for missing woman Sarah Everard, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said.
The discovery was made in an area of woodland in Ashford in Kent.
“We have found very sadly what appears to be human remains,” Ms Dick said.
“At this early stage we are not able to confirm any identity and that may take us some considerable time.
“Specialist officers have been with Sarah’s family to update them on the investigation and continue to give them the best support possible.”
The news came through almost exactly a week after Sarah, 33, was last seen.
The marketing manager, who was brought up in York and went to Fulford School, vanished while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London last Wednesday (3 March).
Ms Everard’s disappearance in “awful and wicked circumstances” are every family’s nightmare, Ms Dick said tonight.
The commissioner added her thoughts are with Ms Everard’s family.
A diplomatic protection officer held over the disappearance of Sarah has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
The Metropolitan Police said the man, who is in his 40s and is part of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was being questioned over suspected kidnap and murder.
Ms Dick added: “The news today that it was a Metropolitan Police officer who was arrested on suspicion of Sarah’s murder has sent shockwaves and anger through the public and through the Met.
“I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say that we are utterly appalled at this dreadful, dreadful news.
“Our job is to patrol the streets and to protect people.”
Sarah’s father Jeremy, a University of York lecturer, and her mother are in London to assist in the search.
Officers have been searching locations in London and Kent, including a property in Deal and an area of woodland near Ashford.