Monday 26 August 2019

Mother of missing teenage girl fears she is being held against her will - 'help us bring her back'

Gaia Pope's mother fears she is being held against her will
Gaia Pope's mother fears she is being held against her will

Rod Minchin and Jennifer Cockerell

The mother of a teenager missing for a week has appealed for the public's help in bringing her daughter home.

Natasha Pope urged people to look in vans, garages and houses in case her 19-year-old daughter Gaia was being kept against her will.

Ms Pope spoke out as Dorset Police issued two CCTV images of the teenager recorded less than an hour before the last confirmed sighting of her.

She wrote on Facebook: "Backs of vans, in garages, somewhere she could be hidden, against her will. In a house ...... keep looking, be bold with respect.

"Thank you. Keep senses sharp. HELP US BRING HER BACK! Can't bear it ..."

Ms Pope also thanked people who have been organising searches for her daughter in the Wimborne area.

CCTV footage of Gaia Pope that was taken less than an hour before she disappeared
CCTV footage of Gaia Pope that was taken less than an hour before she disappeared

"Deepest gratitude and thanks. Desperation accumulative. Keep our heads and never give up," she wrote.

"We all need Gaia back so she can follow through on her life plan. Her talents are cross the board. Society stands to gain massively by getting her back.

"Gaia is dynamic fun, exceptionally intelligent compassionate and loving. Gaia is special indeed, so we best crack on discover the truth of things so we may bring her home very soon."

Gaia was staying at an address in Swanage, Dorset, when she disappeared on the afternoon of November 7.

She was being driven between Langton Matravers and Swanage by a family member when they stopped off for fuel at St Michael's Garage on Valley Road in Swanage. At around 2.55pm she went inside and bought an ice cream.

The last confirmed sighting of Gaia was at an address in Manor Gardens on Morrison Road in Swanage at about 4pm.

Forensic investigations are continuing at two properties in Manor Gardens, which are believed to be the homes of a 71-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man.

They were released under investigation on Tuesday after being arrested on suspicion of murder by police the previous day.

Gaia was seen at St Michael's Garage on Valley Road in Swanage
Gaia was seen at St Michael's Garage on Valley Road in Swanage

Read More: Two arrested on suspicion of murdering missing teenager

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Devoto, who is leading the investigation, said: "We believe Gaia was wearing the same grey and white woven leggings and white trainers, but was last seen in a red checked shirt with white buttons.

"When she disappeared she was not wearing the black jacket pictured, which was recovered at an address in Manor Gardens.

"Our search efforts are continuing and I would again appeal to the public that if they have any information, however small, that could lead us to finding Gaia, please get in touch.

"Finally, I would like to offer my thoughts to Gaia's family and friends in what is an incredibly difficult time for them.

"It has been over a week since she went missing and we are doing all we can in order to find her."

The search to find the teenager has continued with search teams focusing all their efforts inland in Swanage and the surrounding area, supported by Dorset search and rescue and specialist units from neighbouring police forces.

On Tuesday Gaia's family vowed to find their "darling girl" and said the thought of seeing her smile was keeping them all "going and hoping".

PA Media

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