Police searching for missing midwife treating home of ex-fiance's brother-in-law as a potential crime scene
Police searching for a missing midwife are treating the home of her ex-fiance's brother-in-law as a potential crime scene, it emerged on Thursday, as police appealed to the public for dashcam footage.
Samantha Eastwood, 28, vanished last Friday after driving home from a night shift at the Royal Stoke Hospital.
Neighbours told police they heard screams coming from her semi-detached house at around 2pm, some six hours after she finished work.
A 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of her kidnap last Sunday but was released on bail.
Miss Eastwood’s devastated sister Gemma, 26, sobbed as she appealed for information about her “happy, bubbly” sibling on Friday, adding: “Without her, half of me is gone.”
Detectives released pictures of her £85 Radley purse, which is missing, and asked for anyone with dashcam footage recorded in north Staffordshire last weekend to come forward.
Miss Eastwood had been due to marry John Peake, 34, this June but their engagement was called off in January and Mr Peake moved out of her home. She put her unworn wedding dress up for sale last month.
Police have been stationed outside a property belonging to Mr Peake’s sister, Katie Stirling, and her husband Michael, a fencing contractor, since Sunday.
An officer outside the address, which is three miles from Miss Eastwood’s home in the Baddeley Green area of Stoke, told reporters the house was being treated as a “scene” and a crime scene log was reportedly visible inside her police vehicle.
Another Stoke property connected to the family, whose elderly owner lives in a care home, was searched by forensics experts for several hours, according to neighbours.
A neighbour said: “Me and my wife just came back from church and saw two unmarked police cars in the road. Later on a third one came then a fourth.
“There was a forensic team too and they were there for three or four hours.”
Mr Peake, who is understood to have met Miss Eastwood at Keele University has made repeated appeals for information on social media, while Miss Eastwood’s mother, Carole Eastwood, as said: “I just want my baby back.”
CCTV footage of the midwife leaving work in her blue scrubs last Friday as well as further video footage of her driving her Volvo XC60 away from the hospital has been released by police.
She was reported missing 12 hours later when she failed to turn up for work, which colleagues said was “completely out of character.”
Her car was later found at her home, with the keys and bank cards inside her house.
Gemma Eastwood, a support worker, said: "Samantha is a fantastic woman and friend. She is warm, friendly, loyal, kind and generous, with a great sense of humour. And whoever she is with she will always make their times together fun.
"Samantha was determined to become a midwife from a young age and succeeded.
"All of Samantha's work friends describe her as an amazing midwife.
"She is caring, harmless and gentle. Samantha is selfless and would do anything for anyone before herself."
Officers have declined to say whether they have recovered Miss Eastwood's mobile phone, stating that it was part of an "ongoing investigation".
Detective Superintendent Simon Duffy, who is leading what is being termed a high-risk missing persons inquiry, said concern was continuing to grow, noting that Miss Eastwood had "no access to money.”
He asked the public to report any sightings of vehicles parked in "strange locations", isolated areas, or lay-bys, no matter how inconsequential they may appear.