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Monday 22 September 2014

Search agony grows for family of Amy (15)

Edel Kennedy

Published 07/01/2008 | 00:00

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Amy Fitzpatrick
Amy Fitzpatrick had been living in Spain for the past three years
The apartment complex where the Fitzpatrick family live in Mijas Costa

When police confirmed that they had found a bra and a bag of clothes just 500m from the home of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick, her family held their breath.

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Fears increased for the wellbeing of the Irish teenager, who has been missing from her home in Spain for almost a week.

She went missing without any money, passport or phone but had been wearing a friend's clothes and carrying a bag of her own dirty clothes.

But after further investigation, local police established that the clothing, found on wasteland, did not belong to Amy.

The 15-year-old has not been seen since she left her friend's house on New Year's Day to walk to her home just outside Fuengirola.

Last night her family waited anxiously for news and they confirmed that the clothing found "definitely" did not belong to the teen.

This morning forensic examinations will intensify in the area around the popular seaside area.

Spanish police will also continue in their efforts to track down and interview all known paedophiles living in the area where the Irish teenager vanished.

Prank

Last night, Amy's stepfather Dave Mahon said that there were still no firm leads but the investigation had been hampered by a spate of prank calls.

Mr Mahon said the search had been scaled back as it is a major Spanish holiday. But it will now intensify again.

"There will be up to 200 police taking place and they'll have the search dogs and helicopters out as well," he said.

He added that the police have been "extremely good" and are tracking down every possible lead.

However, the search for Amy, who moved from Coolock in Dublin to Spain with her mother Audrey (39) and brother Dean (17) three years ago, is being hampered by prank callers. Leaflets had been distributed in the area containing pictures of the missing girl and a number to call if she was spotted.

Mr Mahon confirmed there had been calls from a few "nutters".

A family friend said that while they have been getting "lots and lots" of calls, there has not been one sighting of Amy.

"The family's distress is intensifying because of the number of false and crank calls," he said.

"Some are extremely offensive and some are from people pretending to be family members or friends."

Amy did not have any cash with her at the time and she does not hold her own passport as she travels on her mother's. She didn't have a mobile phone as her own was broken.

Amy had been babysitting at friend Debbie Rose's house before she left to walk home. She has not been seen since.

Yesterday Ms Rose said she and her daughter Ashley were growing fearful.

And she said that she has not slept properly since the 15-year-old went missing last Tuesday night.

"I hope she's met someone but I don't think she has. She had no money and she even had Ashley's clothes on. She was carrying her own dirty clothes in a plastic bag with her," she said.

She fears she may have been abducted by traffickers because of her white skin and blue eyes.

Amy had been living in Spain for three years but had not settled in the country. She had been due to make a trip to Ireland on St Stephen's Day but it was postponed -- and she was very upset about that.

"She said she couldn't wait to get back to Ireland, she'd had enough of Spain," said her best friend Ashley last night.

"She went to two different schools and got bullied at both. She hated Spain, all she wanted to do was go back to Ireland.

"She was hoping that maybe she could go back and live with some of her family there."

Amy left Ashley's house to walk home at around 10pm on New Year's Day. Amy's mother Audrey then rang Debbie at 1pm on Wednesday to check on Amy.

Appeal

"I said I thought she was with her. Then I thought maybe she'd stayed with another friend," she added.

Last night Ms Rose made a heartfelt appeal for anyone who is holding the young girl to let her go.

"If you've got her please just let her go.

"If not and she can see what's going on, Amy please phone us and let us know you're okay."

Last night her ex-boyfriend, William Shortt (15), said he is "very frightened" for her.

"I'm very worried about her and hope that she comes home safely," he said.

"She's a very happy girl but I'm frightened something might have happened her."

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