Missing for 14 Hours ... Found Yards Away; MYSTERY OF HOW GIRL, SIX, SPENT NIGHT UNDETECTED DESPITE

By Gusmaroli, Danielle; Cheston, Paul et al. | The Evening Standard (London, England), July 8, 2003 | Go to article overview

Missing for 14 Hours ... Found Yards Away; MYSTERY OF HOW GIRL, SIX, SPENT NIGHT UNDETECTED DESPITE


Gusmaroli, Danielle, Cheston, Paul, Davenport, Justin, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: DANIELLE GUSMAROLI;PAUL CHESTON;JUSTIN DAVENPORT

POLICE are investigating the mystery of a girl who was feared to have been abducted for 14 hours - only to be found four doors from her home.

Summer Haipule, six, was said to have been snatched by two men near her home in Moulsecoomb, Brighton, yesterday evening.

The report by a 13-year-old boy was so detailed that police were convinced he was a credible witness.

An initial search revealed nothing and fears grew as 80 officers and volunteers hunted through the night. But in fact it appears she had simply wandered into the wrong house and gone to sleep underneath a cot in a bedroom.

Summer was discovered today in the neighbour's house at 7.10am. She was reading a book when she was found.

Her mother Minday, 34, who had been out searching for her, picked her up and said: "Summer, I love you so much ... where the hell have you been?"

The girl's father, a 28-yearold graphic designer who has changed his name to Dragon, said: "It was dreadful, the worst night of my life."

Summer then enjoyed a breakfast of a chocolate bar, a cheese spread sandwich and a cup of hot milk.

The girl's disappearance revived memories of the abduction and murder of two girls on the Moulsecoomb estate 17 years ago.

Amid huge relief that she had been found, questions were being asked over what had happened to her since she went missing at 5.30pm. Chief Superintendent Paul Curtis said: "It does seem bizarre that Summer was only a few doors away but we acted correctly on the information we were given last night.

"Although it now seems unlikely that Summer was abducted, we need to rule out all possibilities. …

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