Detectives searching for missing oil executive Carole Waugh have found the body of a woman in a car at a lock-up garage in London.
Miss Waugh, 50, originally from Durham, has not been seen by her family since mid-April and concerns for her safety grew after a fraudster tried to sell her central London flat by posing as her brother.
Scotland Yard said a woman's body was found in a garage in Lime Court, New Malden, south west London, last night.
It was found in a car, a blue Volkswagen Golf, and police are appealing for information about it. The registration number is W466 NHL.
Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane said: "We need to hear from anyone with information on the car, particularly since April this year.
"Anyone who can assist us on where it has been since then, or can advise on anyone with a connection to it, should come forward."
Earlier this week a 47-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of kidnap and conspiracy to defraud and subsequently on suspicion of murder.
The suspect is in custody at a south London police station. A warrant for further detention was granted at Croydon Magistrates' Court yesterday, Scotland Yard said.
To date, 10 people have been arrested in connection with the investigation.
The body has not been formally identified and was taken to Kingston mortuary. A post-mortem examination will take place later today.
Ms Waugh, of Harrowby Street, central London, was reported missing by her family on May 7 and had never gone missing before.
The last believed sighting of her was thought to be in central London three days earlier, but this was unconfirmed.
Detectives said Ms Waugh, who previously lived in Libya, met men through a variety of internet sites including dating websites and were investigating the possibility that she might have been an escort.
DCI McFarlane said on Wednesday: "Information has been received which has progressed this inquiry and we are now treating Carole's disappearance as a murder investigation.
"I am unable to go into further detail about the nature of the new information at this time. However, we now believe that Carole has not been seen alive since April .
"Since that time, significant plundering of her estate has taken place to the value of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
"In addition to a number of fraudulent transactions associated with Carole's bank account, there are also a number of her personal possessions that currently cannot be located.
"Today I am releasing images of items of Cartier jewellery, identical to that worn by Carole, which are amongst items missing from her personal possessions."
The missing items are a Cartier ring, a white gold bracelet, a yellow gold bracelet and a yellow gold necklace, which are all in the same style.
The lock-up is in a row of garages behind two detached 1930s houses in a quiet street.
The driveway leading to the garages was cordoned off this morning and a police community support officer stood guard.
A white and a blue forensic tent was erected outside one of the garages at the end of the row.
Matt Elcox, 17, who lives in a house in Lime Grove backing on to the area, said: "I was woken by the sound of police cars coming and going late last night.
"I looked out of the window but thought it was just a stolen car or something like that, so went back to bed.
"It is surprising because you don't see much activity around the garages and certainly nothing suspicious."
One man who has worked nearby for about five years said the garages were mainly used for storage by builders.
He said: "There have been some small problems with stolen goods being stored but certainly no major crime."
Local resident Karen Tucker, 28, said: "I had read about the missing woman but did not think there was any link to this area.
"When I turned on the news this morning it came as a complete shock and it's still sinking in. We love living here because it's nice and quiet with no trouble."
Walee Abdulla, 52, moved to the area three days ago.
He said: "It seems like a nice area, so when I turned on the news this morning and saw they had found a body, it came as a complete surprise."