Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ABDUCTION FEAR FOR LOST GIRLS; Police Chief Suspects Criminal Involvement

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ABDUCTION FEAR FOR LOST GIRLS; Police Chief Suspects Criminal Involvement

Article excerpt


THE officer leading the hunt for missing 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman said today he fears they have been abducted.

The girls vanished from the Cambridgeshire town of Soham on Sunday evening while playing together. Divers are preparing to search the waterways and ditches in the surrounding Fens.

Detective Superintendent David Hankins said: "Another night has passed and these two vulnerable young girls have not come to light and our fears grow by the hour. " Increasingly, we have to look at the possibility the girls have been abducted and that this will be a criminal investigation."

He added: "We have to pray they are somewhere safe, but we have to fear there has been an abduction."

"My heart goes out to the parents. This has got to be the most harrowing thing for the families."

There were two reported sightings on Monday of two girls wearing red Manchester United shirts. Holly and Jessica were both wearing the football shirts carrying David Beckham's name and the number seven.

Tina-Maria Easey, 39, and her neighbour Caroline Perry, 76, reported seeing two girls matching the descriptions of Holly and Jessica walking along the A10 in Little Thetford, eight miles from Soham.

Mr Hankins said they had not been seen since, adding: "We have spoken to bus drivers, motorists, anyone who was

using the A10 at that time and no one else saw them.

" Whether they were really there and whether they were the people we are looking for, we don't know."

He stressed there was "no malice " about the

neighbours' claims but he added "It is very strange that no one else has seen them."

The man credited with putting Sarah Payne's killer behind bars was today drafted in to help.

Detective Superintendent Alan Ladley of Sussex police said: " We must ensure a thorough and extensive search of the area where the girls were last seen is carried out so that not a single patch of grass is missed.

" We cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes we did during the Sarah Payne investigation.

"It is imperative we know sooner rather than later if something sinister has happened to them. …

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