The death of university student Libby Squire is being treated as a “potential homicide”, police have said.
The 21-year-old’s body was found in the Humber Estuary on Wednesday afternoon.
She had been missing since the early hours of Friday February 1 following an evening out in Hull and her disappearance sparked an intensive search, lasting more than a month.
In a statement issued on Friday, Detective Superintendent Martin Smalley, of Humberside Police, said: “In regards to our investigation, while we have considered throughout the missing person inquiry that Libby may have come to some harm, Libby’s death and the recovery of her body now leads us to solely investigate as a potential homicide.
“The post-mortem examination concluded late last night and at this stage, we will not be releasing any results for investigative and operational reasons.”
He added: “Our thoughts remain today with Libby’s family and friends at this incredibly sad and devastating time for them.
“The loss of a loved one is always an upsetting and traumatic experience to go through, but the circumstances surrounding Libby’s death will only intensify the heartache for her family.”
Mr Smalley also said that an inquest into Miss Squire’s death will open at Hull Coroner’s Court at 1pm on Monday.
He said: “Libby captured the hearts of not just the people in Hull, but across the country, and as I have said before, the support shown has been overwhelming and my sincerest thanks to absolutely everyone who has been involved.”
Miss Squire, who has been described as a popular student who studied philosophy at Hull University, vanished after going out with friends on January 31.
She was dropped off in a taxi near her home on Wellesley Avenue at 11.29pm, and was seen on a bench near Beverley Road around 10 minutes later.
She is believed to have remained in this area until around 12.09am the following day, February 1, but was not seen alive since.
Her disappearance prompted a huge search effort, involving more than a hundred officers and a team of volunteers.
In the hours since her death, a wave of tributes have poured in for Miss Squire, originally from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
The bench on Beverley Road has become a focus for tributes to the student in the hours since the confirmation of her death.
A succession of people laid flowers at the spot on Friday morning, which is just a few hundreds metres from her student home.
One tribute from a nine-year-old girl said: “Gone from our sights but never from our hearts.”
Another said: “RIP lovely Libby. Hull will always hold you in our hearts.”
And one tribute said: “Please don’t let one act of hate overshadow the outpouring of love for you.”
Almost everyone laying flowers said that they did not know Miss Squire but said they had been shocked and moved by what had happened to her.
A minute’s silence was held for Miss Squire during a lunchtime service at Hull Minster where candles have also been lit in her memory.
During the investigation into her disappearance, 24-year-old Pawel Relowicz, of Raglan Street, Hull, was arrested on suspicion of abduction.
He has been remanded in custody, having appeared in court on unrelated charges of burglary, voyeurism, outraging public decency and receiving stolen goods.