A teenager has been arrested on suspicion of murdering six-year-old Alesha MacPhail
Police confirmed the development in a statement on Wednesday evening, having earlier warned residents to remain vigilant after confirming that they have seized a car as investigations continued into the six-year-old’s murder.
The suspect is said to be under 18 but no other details have been released.
The senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston, said: “The response to our earlier public appeals has been significant.
“However, despite this evening’s major development, I am still appealing for anyone who was in the Ardbeg Road area on Sunday night or in the early hours of Monday and who may have information about Alesha’s death to contact us.
“Anyone who has CCTV at their home or business, or indeed any motorists with dash cam footage which might help with our investigation are also urged to get in touch.”
Alesha had gone missing from her grandparents’ home in the early hours of Monday morning. Forensic officers were seen searching the home earlier this morning.
The alarm was quickly raised, and locals helped to search for the six-year-old, who was found around 9am in the grounds of a disused hotel, around 20 minutes from the home of Alesha’s grandparents.
The house where the youngster was staying remained closed off yesterday, as police were seen removing bags from the building.
Residents were told by officers to remain vigilant and ensure that their homes are secure amid fears that Alesha’s killer may still be at large on the island.
The car is believed to have been removed by officers on Monday or Tuesday.
Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren, Divisional Commander of Argyll and West Dunbartonshire said: “Every available resource from across Police Scotland is being made available to this major investigation. Our absolute priority is catching the person responsible for this horrendous act as quickly as possible.
“I understand that there will be a high level of concern among people living in this close-knit community but I want to reassure people that everything possible is being done.
“Incidents such as this are extremely rare but we are still in the early stages of this investigation and we would ask people to be vigilant about their children and also their household security.
“Additional police officers and other resources have travelled to the island and high-visibility patrols have been stepped up, with these additional officers patrolling 24 hours a day.
“If anyone has any concerns, or has any information, they can approach these officers. We also have an incident caravan situated on the island which is staffed 24 hours a day.”