Police have been given extra time to question Mark Bridger after revealing he is now being held on suspicion of murdering five-year-old April Jones.
The 46-year-old was originally arrested on suspicion of abducting April, but detectives have made the grim announcement that he is now being held on suspicion of the schoolgirl's murder.
Several hours later former leisure centre worker Bridger was driven to Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court in a secure van, where an application was made for a further warrant of detention, giving police until Saturday afternoon before they will have to charge or release him.
The latest developments came as April's shell-shocked parents Paul, 43, and Coral, 40, issued three new photographs of their cherished daughter.
Following his brief appearance before magistrates, Bridger was flanked by two officers as he was escorted back into Aberystwyth Police Station with a blue sheet over his head.
April was seen willingly getting into a 4x4-style vehicle on the Bryn-y-Gog estate in the town of Machynlleth at 7pm on Monday. Bridger was initially arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of abduction.
The one-time lifeguard was picked up on a main road not far from the river Dyfi - with his blue Land Rover Discovery found at a nearby repair garage.
As search teams began a fifth day of scouring the rugged terrain around the town police announced the grim news indicating they were working on the assumption that April was dead.
Detective Superintendent Reg Bevan told a press conference in Aberystwyth: "Mark Bridger has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of April Jones.
"The arrest does not detract from our efforts to find April and we remain committed to finding her. Her family has been informed of this development and, as you would expect, they continue to be supported by a family liaison officer."