POLICE were yesterday continuing to question a man suspected of murdering missing Accrington businessman David Guilfoyle.
The 35-year-old, who lives in the Accrington area, was held on Tuesday morning after detectives swooped on the Burnley firm where he works.
The suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken to divisional police headquarters at Greenbank, Blackburn, where a major incident room has been set up to investigate the disappearance of wealthy property owner Mr Guilfoyle, 37, of Royds Avenue, 16 days ago.
He was quizzed during 36 hours in custody, and before the deadline for holding him expired at midnight on Wednesday police successfully applied to magistrates to detain him for a further 24 hours.
Police could apply for a further extension but at the end of 96 hours he must be charged or released.
Although they have not entirely given up hope that Mr Guilfoyle, the father of a 15-year-old girl, will be found alive, police are increasingly resigned to searching for a body.
The head of Accrington Police, Inspector Julian Platt, has been seconded to the inquiry team as a specialist search adviser and he will liaise with the National Crime and Operations Faculty.
This week the country's top sniffer dogs were called in to help search fields and woodland behind Mr Guilfoyle's £230,000 bungalow in an affluent area of the town.
Frankie, a border collie, and two English springer spaniels, Eddie and Kella, had earlier hunted the man who attacked Abigail Witchells, the 26-year-old mum who was viciously stabbed in Surrey while pushing a pram.
Mr Guilfoyle has not been seen since the night of Wednesday 25 May when he drove home in his distinctive green Jaguar XK8 convertible sports car after watching the Liverpool-AC Milan soccer final in his regular pub, the Grey Horse on Whalley Road, Accrington.
His girlfriend Debbie Fitzpatrick, 39, of Hill Street, Baxenden, and best friend Neil Bennett became increasingly concerned when the inveterate mobile phone user did not get in touch and called in police.
Forensic experts carried out a fingertip search of the bungalow and found evidence that a violent assault had taken place there.
As part of the investigation detectives are probing Mr Guilfoyle's alleged links with organised crime.
As well as being convicted of selling smuggled cigarettes five years ago, as revealed in the Observer last week, it has emerged that he was jailed for eight months for possessing forged banknotes in June 2000.
His complicated business dealings and "busy social life" have also come under close scrutiny in the search for a possible motive to the attack and police stress that they still need help from the public. Anyone who can help should ring 51212 or the Crimestoppers number, free and in confidence, on 0800 555 111.