Police have said they are “satisfied” a body found on a country lane on Christmas Day is missing architect Joanna Yeates.
A spokesman said they are treating the death as suspicious, but are waiting for the results of a post-mortem examination.
Miss Yeates, 25, from Clifton, Bristol, had not been seen since December 17 when CCTV showed her in a Tesco store on her way home to her flat in Canynge Road.
Friends launched a campaign to find her by putting up posters across Bristol and setting up a website, a page on Facebook and using Twitter.
The discovery of a body was made at 9am on Christmas Day on a snow-covered verge three miles from where Miss Yeates lived.
A couple had been walking their dogs along Longwood Lane, close to Bristol and Clifton Golf Club, which was later sealed off for forensic examination.
An Avon and Somerset police spokesman said: “Police are satisfied that the body is that of 25-year-old landscape architect Joanna Yeates, who went missing during the weekend before Christmas.”
Miss Yeates’ father said he “would be relieved” if the body was his daughter so they would have the opportunity to say goodbye.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, David Yeates said: “It hasn’t been a Christmas for us. I don’t know what it’s been. It’s been surreal, totally unreal. In truth we feel like we hope … we would be relieved if it was her. We don’t want to go to our graves wondering where she is and not being given the chance to say goodbye to her.”
The Avon Fire Service helped police remove the body, which was clothed and covered in snow, from the scene in order to preserve the site for a thorough forensic examination.