The family of Samantha Eastwood have thanked supporters after police found a body believed to be that of the midwife.
Ms Eastwood was last seen when she left her night shift at the Royal Stoke Hospital at 7.47am last Friday, and officers investigating her disappearance found a body in a rural area near the city at around midday on Saturday.
Staffordshire Police have now confirmed that the body is believed to be that of the 28-year-old, with formal identification and a post mortem to take place later.
In a statement, her family asked for their privacy to be respected at "this terrible time".
"We would like to say thank you to all the people who followed Samantha's story and tried their best to help," they added.
Officers remain at the scene of the discovery in Caverswall, which is still cordoned off, and detectives are continuing their murder investigation following the arrests of three men.
In custody on suspicion of murder is a 32-year-old man, who was previously released on conditional bail, and two men aged 28 and 60 who are being held on suspicion of assisting an offender.
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Detective Superintendent Simon Duffy said the force was committed to securing justice for Samantha and her family.
He added: "I would like to add my thanks to those of the family, to all those who have helped and supported the investigation over the past week, and I would ask that the privacy of the family is now respected at this tragic time."