BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Missing prodigy found safe
Sufiah with her sister and father
Sufiah Yusof (centre) was studying maths at Oxford
Police say missing maths prodigy Sufiah Yusof has been discovered safe and well.

But the 15-year-old Oxford University student has asked officers not to tell her family where she is.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: "We can confirm that Sufiah has been found safe and well and police are talking to her.

"At this early stage, Miss Yusof has indicated that she doesn't want anyone to know where she is and police will respect this wish.

"The family has been contacted and told their daughter is safe and well."

Sufiah was acclaimed a child genius when she took up a place at Oxford at 13.

She is in her third year of a four-year masters degree at the all-women's college St Hilda's and disappeared on 22 June after sitting her final exam.

E-mail to family

She e-mailed her family on Tuesday to say she was not coming home, but the message reportedly blames pressure at home for her failure to return.

"Maybe the public will have a different view of you as devoted parents. I'm not Cry-baby Soo-Fi anymore," the message reportedly adds.

Sufiah has also reportedly threatened to go to the press with her side of the story.

Her mathematician father Farooq, 43, has said since she disappeared that he thought his daughter was being held against her will.

But Thames Valley Police said they managed to locate the teenager - at an undisclosed location - by following up leads.

Superintendent Dave McWhirter said: "I'm delighted that my officers have brought this matter to a successful conclusion and have talked to Miss Yusof.

"A lot of excellent work has been put in over the last few days and it is through this that she has been found safe and well."

Passed exams

Speaking after the discovery that her daughter was safe, Sufiah's mother Halimahton, 41, said: "At least we know she is alive. We just want time together to talk about things now."

It had been thought that exam worry had caused Sufiah's disappearance, but on Tuesday Oxford University revealed that she had passed all her end-of-year exams.

Sufiah's family are devout Muslims who begin each day with prayers, followed by exercise to focus the mind and body.

Her elder brother Isaac was at one point the number four tennis player in the UK for his age, while her sisters Aisha, 17, and Iskander, 14, are in their second year at the University of Warwick.

Her youngest sister Zuleila, aged six, is preparing to sit her A-level maths exams.

All five children have been taught at home by their Malaysian-born parents.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

03 Jul 00 | Education
Gifted but socially isolated?
06 Oct 98 | Education
The young undergraduates
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories