Missing children's author Helen Bailey last seen walking her pet dog
Hertfordshire Police have launched specialist searches in the hunt for missing children's author Helen Bailey.
The last sighting of her was around 2.45pm on Monday April 11 near her home in Royston, Hertfordshire, where she was seen walking her dog.
Her dog, believed to be called Boris, is described as a shaded red miniature Dachshund with a slightly greying muzzle.
Police have made a number of public appeals in the hope of finding the author, and have now committed more resources to the search due to growing concerns about her welfare.
Mrs Bailey, whose husband, John Field, drowned in February 2011 while the couple were enjoying a holiday in the Caribbean, had reportedly said she "needed a little time to herself" prior to her disappearance.
The author is best known for her series of novels about the fictional character Electra Brown, which have been proven popular with teenage girls.
Following her husband's death, Mrs Bailey began writing an online blog called Planet Grief, in which she describes her struggle with being a widow.
In a post named "Trust me, I'm A Widow", she wrote: "Believe me, I know what it's like to feel the unrelenting pain of searing grief, to long to spontaneously combust in front of the meal-for-one section in M&S, to stand in the park and scream into the sky, 'Where are you?' and to sob hysterically over having to drag a slug-covered wheelie bin into the street, alone, late at night, week after lonely week."
In her most recent post, Mrs Bailey wrote openly about the fifth anniversary since her husband's death, in which she claimed that her life and his "were too tightly woven for death to completely destroy the links between us".
Detective Inspector Lynda Coates, who is leading the investigation, said: "We understand that before Helen was reported missing she had apparently stated that she needed a little time to herself.
"However it has now been over a week since she was last seen or heard from and we are growing increasingly concerned for her welfare.
"We are keeping an open mind on the circumstances and have been carrying out a number of enquiries in order to try and locate Helen and these are continuing today with specialist searches in the Royston area.
"I would ask Helen to please get in contact with us if she sees this appeal to let us know she is safe and well."
Hachette Children's Group, which owns Hodder Children's Books, Mrs Bailey's publisher, told the Bookseller magazine: "Along with Helen's friends and family we anxiously await the news of her safe return."
Helen is described as slim, with long black hair. It is not known what she was wearing at the time she went missing.
She is understood to have connections to Kent, Northumbria and London.