Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 15:52 UK

New lead in missing mother hunt

Natalie Bracht and her children
Police say Ms Bracht has no means of supporting her children

The search for a woman who vanished from her Sunderland home with her five daughters has switched to Devon.

Natalie Bracht, 34, who suffers from a personality disorder, fled Wearside on 17 May when she found out her children were to be taken into care.

Recent sightings have been reported in London and at a commune near Yeovil.

Police say evidence suggests she may have travelled by bus with her children - aged between four and 13 - to Moretonhampstead near Dartmoor.

Officers said she had made up a series of stories about her past. Her parents John and Heidrun Brown have appealed for her to return home.

During her time on the run, Ms Bracht has approached a number of organisations, fabricating stories to gain support and shelter, Northumbria Police said.

'Abandoned belongings'

A force spokesman said a woman matching Ms Bracht's description and accompanied by five children bought a bus ticket from Exeter to Moretonhampstead, arriving on the evening of 27 June.

Det Ch Insp Roger Ford, who is leading the investigation, added: "We have real fears for the welfare and safety of the girls and our number one priority in this case is to get them home safe and well.

"We know that Natalie and the girls were at a commune near Yeovil, but then abandoned some of their belongings and fled.

"Now we have reason to believe that they may be in Devon. Once again the girls are alone in an area where they have no links or means of support, hundreds of miles away from their home, friends and school.

"We are now working with our colleagues from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary to try and find Natalie as soon as possible."

Missing family traced to commune
25 Jun 08 |  England
Father appeals to missing family
01 Jun 08 |  England

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North County Times LETTERS: NCT, July 13, 2008 (1234) - 13 hrs ago
Slate Magazine Subprime Krugman. - 17 hrs ago
Northern Echo Missing mum traced to Devon - 23 hrs ago

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