Following the discovery of Holly and Jessica's charred clothing, police arrested Huntley and girlfriend Carr on suspicion of murder. Later the same day, 17 August 2002, 13 days after the girls had disappeared, a game warden discovered the girls’ bodies near RAF Lakenheath, an airbase in Suffolk, near to Huntley’s father’s home.
Subsequent autopsy reports on the girls listed their probable cause of death as asphyxiation, but their bodies were too badly decomposed to establish whether they had suffered any sexual assault. Despite Huntley’s attempts to destroy forensic evidence, extensive hair and fibre residue remained which linked Huntley to the girls.
Huntley was formally charged with the girl’s murders, and sectioned under the Mental Health Act at Rampton Hospital, pending a hearing to establish if he was fit for trial.
Carr was arrested for assisting an offender, as well as conspiring to obstruct the course of justice, as she had initially provided Huntley with a false alibi for the time of their disappearance.