Murder enquiry: arrest made

A man's been arrested in Leuven as part of the investigation into missing Julie Van Espen. Prosecutors have confirmed he's the "important witness" they were looking for. The man was arrested on a train and is now being questioned.

Belgian police issued a wanted notice for a man, who Antwerp public prosecutors describe as "an important witness to the disappearance of Julie Van Espen" after a murder enquiry was launched.

Antwerp prosecutors opened the murder enquiry on Sunday following indications that Van Espen had met a violent death. Julie Van Espen disappeared on Saturday.  Police issued five pictures showing a man with a backpack.  Police have asked the witness to come forward.  Anybody who can identify the witness or has information on his whereabouts should contact the police.  You can call 0800/30.30.0 toll-free or send an email to opsporingen@police.belgium.eu.

Many people are sharing the wanted notice on social media and police have already received over 200 tips from the general public.  Police officers are now busy analysing the tips, but the identity of the "important witness" has not yet been established.

The search for the missing woman continues.  Two ships are searching the Albert Canal that runs beside the cycling path the woman used on Saturday.  A sonar is being employed to search the bottom of the canal.

It was on Saturday that Julie Van Espen left the Antwerp town of Schilde on her bike heading for Antwerp where she never arrived.  She was supposed to meet up with friends.  Police have recovered bloody clothing and her bike basket in Antwerp.  Her bike and mobile are still missing.  A signal was picked up in the same area on Saturday evening but then the mobile was turned off.