Essex Police have launched a murder investigation after human remains were found in a pond.

Police have cordoned off entrances to the green wooded area surrounding Oakwood Pond, Harlow, where human remains were found on New Years Eve.

Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby told reporters on Tuesday: “We were called shortly before 2pm on Saturday by (a) member of the public who reported a suspicious object in the water.”

He said that under the circumstances in which the body was found police believe the person’s death is suspicious, adding that the investigation is in its early stages.

Mr Kirby said they expect the cordon to be in place for several days as they carry out searches of the area, including draining a pond.

He also told reporters it is “too early” to identify any characteristics like age, gender or ethnicity as officers are still working to identify the victim.

Epping Forest Guardian: Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby speaks to the media outside Harlow Police stationDetective Superintendent Rob Kirby speaks to the media outside Harlow Police station (Image: PA)

Answering questions from reporters about how long the victim had been there, he said: ”Some witnesses have indicated that the human remains have been there for some time.”

Pressed on if this meant days, weeks or months, he said: “I think the indication is several weeks certainly.”

Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby said police are unsure at this stage if the human remains are linked to a missing person’s case.

He said: “We will always contact organisations particularly those responsible for managing missing persons.”

He also said: “We are keeping a really open mind as to how the remains ended up there.”

Asked in what time frame police are expect to get forensic results back, he said: “Hopefully we should get some forensic test results by the end of the week.

“As soon as we’ve identified the victim then we are in a much better place.”

“We are working relentlessly to make sure those responsible are brought to justice,” he added.