HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to Wimborne teenager Amy Latham who was found dead in the woods near her home last night.
Amy, who celebrated her 18th birthday just last week, had just completed her studies at QE School in Wimborne.
Messages of sympathy have been left on sites including Facebook and Twitter.
Phil Jessiman said : “Another bright star has been added to tonight's sky, one that should not be there as they were taken far too young and well before their time.
“You were loved by all who met you and you have left such a large hole in so many lives. Sleep well, sleep tight dear Amy, RIP.”
His sentiments were echoed by another friend who said: “Rest In Peace Amy Latham, you will always be an angel.”
Another said: “It's one of those things that you just can't believe. RIP Amy.”
Police expressed their “grave concern” that Amy had gone missing yesterday and urged the public to help them find her.
A special Facebook page was set up which had more than 1,000 “likes” and had been shared by hundreds of well wishers.
But a body was found later in the day and her devastated family confirmed it was Amy.
In a message posted on Facebook they said: “The Latham family are devastated to say that Amy's body has been found.
“They want to thank Amy's friends and family for their support. Please respect their privacy while they come to terms with this news.”
Amy lived in Walford Gardens in Wimborne with her dad, Graham. Her mum, Sue Latham, lives in Sturminster Marshall.
It is thought that she was planning to travel to Australia to visit her sister, Rachel, during a gap year.
Police have confirmed there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death. The coroner has been informed and a post mortem examination will be carried out in the next 48 hours. An inquest will be held at a later date.
Amy's body was discovered in woodland close to Walford Gardens and residents in the area reacted with shock when they heard the news.
Heather Bird, of Walford Gardens, said: “I would often see her walking down the road, we were all hoping she had just had a row and stormed off as teenagers do. It's so upsetting, you just feel for the family.”
Another resident, of nearby Farmer's Walk, added: “The police helicopter has been searching the area since yesterday afternoon.
“It's so tragic, there were about 10 police officers looking for her this afternoon, they came to search all the gardens and sheds.“We've all been talking about it; 18 years old, it's just awful.”