The family of a vulnerable teenager who died on a cliff top have raised questions as to why progress with the inquest into her death has stalled.

The family of 19-year-old Gaia Pope-Sutherland, who went missing from her home in Langton Matravers last November, said that they were “being left in limbo” by the IOPC.

The pre-inquest review which was expected to take place today has been postponed by the Dorset Coroner after the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) told the family that their investigation will not now be concluded prior to February 2019.

Consequently, the Dorset Coroner that the pre-inquest review is now expected to proceed in March 2019.

In a statement, Gaia’s family said: “We are disappointed to have lost this opportunity to appear in the coroner’s court, for the first time with legal representation.

“Almost an entire year has passed since Gaia’s death and we have still not been given this opportunity. Nor has any significant information been disclosed to us about what happened to Gaia and why.

“Without answers, we live in limbo. It is simply impossible to move forwards while we remain in the dark like this.

“However, we appreciate the work the IOPC are doing to investigate the actions of Dorset Police.

“We dearly hope that the extension of these investigations means that the investigation is being given the attention and resources it needs to bring justice for Gaia.”

Miss Pope-Sutherland, 19, was reported missing from Swanage by a family member on November 7, 2017.

Clothing belonging to the teenager was found by members of the public in a field near Swanage on November 16.

Miss Pope-Sutherland’s body was discovered nearby two days later in undergrowth on a cliff top.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) began an inquiry into Dorset Police’s handling of the case back in April.

The watchdog then launched a second investigation into the police response to an allegation of rape made by the teenager in December 2015 following a referral from Gaia’s family.

An inquest opening hearing into Miss Pope-Sutherland’s death heard that she died of hypothermia and that there were no suspicious circumstances or signs of third party involvement.

An IOPC spokesperson said that investigations were ongoing and stressed that they were continuing to keep Miss Pope-Sutherland’s family, the Coroner and Dorset Police informed of their progress which included providing an estimate of how long their investigations may take.

The spokesman added: “Coroners often adjourn inquests to await the outcome of our independent investigations as the evidence gathered may assist their decision-making.

“We have two investigations ongoing which we will work to complete as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.”