DETECTIVES are looking at the significance of the discovery of a pair of men’s jeans found today during a major search of Windermere and Bowness for missing Middlesbrough student Matthew Jordan.
The saturated items were found in a secluded wooded area of Windermere but not on the lake shoreline, by a volunteer search party combing for clues on Saturday (April 5).
The jeans have been removed from the scene by police for forensic examination.
A pair of socks - found in a different wooded area - has also been found and taken away for analysis as today's search was wound down due to failing light.
Around 80 people - many from the North East - have taken part today in a co-ordinated sweep hoping for any breakthrough in the disappearance of the Teesside University student who has now been missing for nine days.
However, the Detective Inspector leading the investigation stressed that while Mr Jordan, 20, was wearing jeans on the night he went missing, it has not yet been established whether they belong to him, or are entirely unconnected.
Detective Inspector Furzana Nazir said: “They may or may not be linked to Matthew but we will examine them and see. We can't yet confirm they belong to him so I've got to look at it.”
And Cumbria Police emphasised that despite the discoveries, people should still search and not take anything for granted as they may not belong to the missing man.
Det Insp Nazir added: “There has also been some witnesses identified today who may have seen Matthew on the night but so far they are not people that have seen him beyond 1am.”
Yesterday, Det Insp Nazir directly appealed for anyone who was in the Rayrigg Road area of Bowness between 1am and 5am on March 27 to get in touch with police if they haven’t already.
During yesterday's search, a foyer connected to an unoccupied building was also checked by police after a search party found evidence to suggest it had been entered and used as a place to sleep.
However, police said there was no supporting evidence to suggest that this was used by the missing Crimonology student.
Det Insp Nazir said: “The family has also identified further areas they want to concentrate on and police will assist them in searching those areas which are further away from Bowness and areas that police search teams have not identified as risk areas, but that we’ll look at.
“Some of the terrain is tricky because it’s slippy with a lot of heavy undergrowth so we’ll be putting dog handlers into there.”
Of Mr Jordan’s parents, who have been actively involved in today’s mass search, Det Insp Nazir said: “The family are continuing to look for Matthew and are being supported by a family liaision officer and we will do as much as we can to support them.
“It is upsetting for them and they want to find Matthew and nine days later that desire remains the same, as does ours.”
DI Nazir thanked those volunteers - the majority of whom had made the journey from the North East - and endured poor weather conditions.
She said the turn out had helped police comb a far wider area and leaflet hundreds of residential properties which could result in further leads coming to light.
“Today has been cold and wet,” said Det Insp Nazir. “But people have stayed out and continued to search the area - thank you for helping us.”
The search reconvenes tomorrow (Sunday April 6) from 10am at Goodly Dale School in Windermere.
DI Nazir also thanked the local community for its many kind offers of help.
Matthew is described as 6ft tall, of medium build, with dark brown hair. He was last seen wearing a navy long sleeved shirt, jeans and grey pull up boots.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Cumbria Police on 101.