She was reported missing at around 7.20pm on Friday 16 June 2017 after she failed to return from college.
Close friends and relatives also took to the streets to ask people if they had spotted her.
Just over six hours after the student was reporting missing, police found her body there.
A Home Office Post Mortem was conducted and it was confirmed that the body was that of Ellen Higginbottom.
A post-mortem examination has concluded that Ellen had suffered multiple wounds to the neck.More news: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Will Take an Indefinite Leave of Absence
Greater Manchester Police says the suspect was detained on Sunday afternoon in nearby Billinge, and is now in custody for questioning. What they must be going through is unimaginable.
This weekend Ellen's mum Kay, 48 - a school head - and dad Mike were being comforted by specially trained officers. "We are keeping an open mind about this, however we would like to hear from anyone who may have any information about any recent incidents of this nature", Millington said.
Tributes have been paid on social media to the college student whose body was found at Orrell Water Park.. We will be leaving no stone unturned'.
He added: "Myself and my team will not stop until we have found out exactly what happened and have brought whoever did this to justice".
"If you saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area either on Friday or in the days prior, please get in touch with police", he said.More news: Parliamentary elections: Emmanuel Macron's party charging towards landslide victory
"Any information, no matter how small, could be vital to our investigation".
"Once again, I would like to thank the public for their overwhelming support in this investigation".
"Attacks of this severity are thankfully incredibly rare, but that in itself makes this all the more shocking".
Investigating officers say that the 51-year-old's address is now being searched and there is a large police presence in the area.
"I understand that there will be many people in the community extremely anxious".More news: Trump, working with Ivanka, to push expanded apprenticeship programs
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