FACES OF THE VANISHED; They're among the Growing Number of Teenagers Who Simply Disappear. Now, as Technology Reveals How They May Look Today, the Parents of Four Such Children Tell Their Anguished Stories
EVERY year 100,000 children disappear from their homes. The vast majority return safe and well, but others appear to vanish into thin air. For the families left behind, time stands still.
In a desperate effort to uncover the truth, staff at the National Missing Persons Helpline are updating the photographs of some of these long-gone teenagers to show how they might look today. Here, TESSA CUNNINGHAM talks to four families waiting for a miracle.
DAVID SPENCER disappeared in December 1996, aged 13. He would now be 21. His mother Christine, 42, has two younger sons: Johnathan, 20, and Lee, 17. She lives in Birmingham with her second husband, Michael, 50, a gas fitter.
Christine says: DAVID would have celebrated his 21st birthday in December.
But, even looking at his new photo, I find it impossible to believe: in my mind, he'll always be the freckle-faced ginger-haired teenager who kissed me goodbye that night nine years ago.
I've lost count of the times I've grabbed a young lad by the shoulder - willing it to be David. It never is.
I only leave the house once a week to do the weekly shop. Even then, I can't rest until I get back in case he returns and finds the house empty.
I know it's unfair on my other children.
Neighbours are taking Lee to Rhyl this summer. It will be his first holiday in ten years, but what else can I do? I would never forgive myself if David came back and I was out.
I last saw David at 10.30pm on December 26, 1996. It was an extra special Christmas because he'd turned 13 a week earlier. His step dad, Mick, and I bought him a pool table. He was delighted, but he couldn't wait to see what presents his best friend, Paddy, 11, had got.
He spent most of Boxing Day at Paddy's house a few streets away, taking turns on his friend's new mountain bike, appearing occasionally to grab a handful of custard cream biscuits.
At 10.30pm, he popped …
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Publication information: Article title: FACES OF THE VANISHED; They're among the Growing Number of Teenagers Who Simply Disappear. Now, as Technology Reveals How They May Look Today, the Parents of Four Such Children Tell Their Anguished Stories. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: Daily Mail (London). Publication date: October 19, 2005. Page number: 28. © 2007 Daily Mail. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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