A MISSING girl was found dead and a man arrested on suspicion of her murder and sexual activity with a child, police said tonight.

Lucy McHugh, 13, went missing from her home two days ago — sparking a frantic search as desperate mum Stacey White pleaded for help finding her.

But tragically her body was discovered at 7.45am yesterday morning in woodland near Southampton Sports Centre, Hants.

Hampshire Police tonight revealed they have arrested a 24-year-old man on suspicion of having sexual activity with a child and murder.

A spokesman for Hampshire police said the 13-year-old was reported missing after she left her house at 9.30am on July 25 and didn't come home.

Det Supt Paul Barton said: “This is a tragic incident and our thoughts go out to Lucy’s family and friends at this terrible time."

Lucy left home at 9:30am on Wednesday but failed to come home that evening as expected.

Her body was found at 7:45am yesterday morning by a member of the public.

Det Supt Barton added: "Lucy was last seen wearing a distinctive black jacket with white sleeves and the logo for the band Falling in Reverse on the front.

"It had RADKE 01 in red on the back.

"A post mortem examination took place today and some of her injuries are unexplained.

"A 24-year-old man from Southampton has been arrested on suspicion of murder and having sexual activity with a child.

"He remains in custody at this time."

At the time of her disappearance, Lucy's mother, Miss White, posted an appeal for help finding her on Facebook.

She wrote: "Anyone seen Lucy White she is missing and police are out looking. Any help appreciated".

"She is wearing blue jeans, black/white jacket, grey or green top. Blue digital watch."

Last night, she added that her daughter had 'been found' as comments from friends and family offered condolences.

Ms White wrote: "Thank you everyone for sharing. I shall post a update soon but Lucy has been found and at the moment that's all I can say.

"Thank you everyone for your kind words. We're all trying to come to terms with it all slowly and just feel numb."

Friends of Lucy took to social media today to pay tribute to the teenager, from Southampton.

One told her mother: "So sorry for your loss, thoughts are with you and your family!! She was such a sweet girl, she will be missed at school a lot."

Another wrote: "Lucy was the kindest person I've met from school and was always there for me no matter what happened."

While a third friend added: "Such a loss, she had a smile that lit up the room and I feel privileged to have known her and be able to call her a close friend all my love to u guys , the brightest star in the sky, rip angel."