LONDON — British police said they found the remains of a 2-month-old baby on Wednesday after officers arrested the infant’s mother and her boyfriend, who disappeared after the child was born in early January.
Constance Marten, 35, and her boyfriend Mark Gordon, 48, a convicted sex offender, had been crossing England for weeks to avoid authorities, police said. Investigators suspect the pair used large amounts of cash to live off the grid, traveling across the country in taxis, covering their faces when near closed cameras and moving frequently, often after dark.
They were arrested on Monday in Brighton, southern England, following a tip-off from a member of the public. The baby was not with them.
The couple was initially arrested on suspicion of child neglect, and the charges were upgraded Tuesday to suspicion of grossly negligent homicide.
“A crime scene has been established and work at the site is expected to continue for some time,” Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford of London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement. “This is an outcome that I and the many officers involved in the investigation hoped would not happen.”
An autopsy will be performed to determine the infant’s cause of death, Basford said. Marten and Gordon remained in custody after police applied for a 36-hour extension to their detention period.
Before the remains were found, police had expressed concern that the baby had been seriously harmed. Dozens of police officers, aided by a helicopter and drones, searched for the child in wooded and open areas near where Marten and Gordon were being held. They also invited residents to look at their buildings and sheds.
Police launched a national search for Marten and Gordon after a car they were traveling in was found on fire on the side of the road on January 5.
Police believe Marten gave birth in or near the car a day or two earlier. In the weeks before she and Gordon turned up, officers said they were concerned for the family’s welfare because neither Marten nor the baby had received medical attention.
Marten, who is from a wealthy, aristocratic British family, was reportedly a drama student when she met Gordon. He was serving 20 years in prison in the United States after being convicted in Florida of kidnapping and sexual assault, according to US law enforcement records. After his release he was deported from the US.