A man has been arrested in connection with the suspected murder of a young graduate who vanished 14 years ago.
Melanie Hall went missing following a night out in Bath in June 1996. Her remains were discovered at the side of the M5 motorway last October.
Avon and Somerset Police said a 38-year-old man is being held and will be interviewed in connection with her murder and the disposal of her body. The man, from Bath, was arrested after turning himself in at the police station in Manvers Street, Bath.
Detective Superintendent Mike Courtiour, leading the murder inquiry, said: “This is obviously a significant development after 14 years but I must stress that our investigation is still very much ongoing.
“Melanie’s parents, Pat and Steve Hall, are always kept informed and are aware that we have made an arrest. This is part of the investigation that has been going on now for eight months since Melanie’s body was discovered.”
Miss Hall, 25, was last seen at Cadillacs nightclub, in Walcot Street, on June 9 1996. Her remains were found last October near junction 14 of the M5 in South Gloucestershire by a workman clearing vegetation.
The psychology graduate had been on a night out with friends and her boyfriend of three weeks, Dr Philip Karlbaum, who left the club “upset” after seeing her dancing with another man. Miss Hall was last seen sitting on a stool near the dancefloor shortly after 1am.
Thousands of nightclubbers and taxi drivers were interviewed in an investigation involving 60 officers and several searches of the River Avon, but no trace of Miss Hall was found. That was until last October, when her remains were discovered hidden under five plastic bags. A ring which had been in her family for generations was also found.
Miss Hall’s parents spoke of their “untold anguish” shortly after officers confirmed the human remains found by the motorway were those of their daughter.
Mr Hall, 65, from Bradford-on-Avon, said: “People out there know, they’ve lived with that secret for 13 years – now I’m appealing for the person who knows to come forward.Thirteen years ago we had a young vibrant daughter with a bright future in front of her. Today we have a bag of bones discarded here on the side of a motorway.”