LONDON (AP) — British police said they found the remains of a 2-month-old baby in a forest on Wednesday after officers arrested the child’s mother and her boyfriend, who disappeared after the child was born in early January.
Constance Marten, 35, and her boyfriend Mark Gordon, 48, a convicted sex offender, had been crossing England for weeks to evade authorities, police said. Investigators suspect the pair used large amounts of cash to live off-grid, travel the country by taxi, cover their faces around closed-circuit cameras and move around frequently, often after dark.
They were detained in Brighton, southern England, on Monday following a tip from a citizen. The baby was not with them.
The couple was initially arrested on suspicion of child neglect, and the grounds were upgraded on Tuesday to suspicion of homicide by gross negligence.
“There is a crime scene and work on the site is expected to continue for some time,” Chief Superintendent Lewis Basford of London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement. “This is a result that myself and the many agents who were part of the search had hoped would not happen.”
An autopsy will be performed to determine the child’s cause of death, Basford said. Marten and Gordon remained in custody after the police requested an extension of their detention period by 36 hours.
Before the remains were found, police had expressed concern that the baby had been seriously injured. Dozens of police officers, assisted by helicopter and drones, searched for the child in woods and open areas near where Marten and Gordon were being held. They also called on local residents to look in their outbuildings and barns.
Police launched a national search for Marten and Gordon after a car they were traveling in was found in flames by the side of the road on January 5.
The police believe that Marten gave birth in or near the car a day or two earlier. In the weeks before she and Gordon surfaced, officers said they were concerned for the family’s well-being because neither Marten nor the baby had received medical attention.
Marten, who comes from a wealthy, aristocratic British family, was reportedly a drama student when she met Gordon. He served 20 years in prison in the United States after being convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault in Florida, according to US law enforcement records. He was deported from the US after his release.