A BODY has been found by police searching for missing teenager Amy Latham.

It comes just hours after the father of the Wimborne teenager made a heartfelt plea on the Daily Echo website for his daughter to return home.

Amy, 18, was last seen by her neighbour at her home in Walford Gardens, Wimborne, on Monday at 1.30pm.

A police spokesman said this evening: “Sadly, a body has been found in woods nearby to the family’s address, which is believed to be the body of 18-year-old Amy Latham.

“Her next of kin and the coroner have been informed. The death is not being treated as suspicious.”

Residents tonight reacted with shock after the discovery was made on woodland close to Walford Gardens, where Amy lived with her father.

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 (in this area) this afternoon, they came to search all the gardens and sheds.

“It’s so tragic. We’ve all been talking about it; 18 years old, it’s just awful.”

Officers from Dorset Police previously said that they were ‘gravely concerned for the welfare of Amy’ and launched a full-scale operation to find her.

Information about Amy’s disappearance was shared widely on social media and a Facebook page was set up.

Before Amy’s body was found, chief Inspector Debbie Marsden, of Dorset Police, said that “Amy has been very upset recently” and her family was concerned that she had come to harm.

She said Amy had taken her mobile phone and had last made contact with a friend at 2.30pm on Monday.

After that, nobody was able to get in touch with her.

Earlier today Amy’s father Graham Latham released a message asking her to return home.

He described his daughter as ‘very kind, outgoing and much loved by her friends’.

A message posted later on the Facebook page 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 whilst they come to terms with this news.”

Amy lived in Wimborne with her father and her mother Sue Latham lives in Sturminster Marshall.

Amy had just finished her A-levels at Queen Elizabeth School in Wimborne and was planning a gap year to visit her sister Rachel in Australia.