|April Jones, who was abducted while out playing near her home in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth, Mid Wales on Monday night. |
Det Supt Reg Bevan said they had arrested the main suspect Mark Bridger on suspicion of her murder.
Supt Ian John called on the hundreds of volunteers to stand down and leave to trained officers as the hunt moved away from a rescue mission to one of finding her body.
Police have already called in dogs trained to locate dead bodies.
Officers have until 5pm tonight to either charge Mr Bridger or let him go.
Locals said that the news was the "confirmation of their worst fears" as they reluctantly gave up the search.