A funeral service has been held for Gaia Pope, the teenager whose disappearance sparked a major search in and around Swanage, Dorset.Her body was found 11 days after she was reported missing on 7 November. Family and friends attended a private funeral in Poole earlier.Ms Pope’s cousin, Marienna Pope-Weidemann, said the family wanted it to be “a celebration of Gaia’s life – a safe space after weeks of fear and anxiety”.The police, coastguard and local volunteers were involved in the search for Ms Pope after she was last seen at an address on Morrison Road on 7 November.Her body was found close to the Dorset coastal path on 18 November. Scores of people attended a vigil at Swanage amphitheatre the following weekend, placing flowers and candles.
Speaking before the funeral, Ms Pope-Weidemann said there would be “lots of colour because that’s what Gaia was to us”.”The community has been so supportive – you can’t walk down the high street without getting a hug – and people are very respectful, but we feel people are still with us for the long haul,” she added.Dorset Police is treating her death as “unexplained”, pending toxicology results.A post-mortem examination did not identify any injuries to suggest the involvement of other people, police said.Three people arrested on suspicion of murder were later released to face no action.
Source: BBC Dorset