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Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 13:37 GMT
Payne police help in Amanda hunt
Police at Amanda's house in Walton, Surrey
Police are keeping "a completely open mind"
Detectives from the Sarah Payne investigation are helping in the hunt for missing schoolgirl Amanda Dowler.

The development comes as forensic officers finished their painstaking search of Amanda's family home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

The 13-year-old, known as Milly, disappeared on Thursday last week as she walked from the railway station near her house.

Amanda Dowler
Amanda disappeared nine days ago

Sarah Payne was abducted and murdered in Sussex in July 2000.

Her mother Sara, who lives in Hersham near Walton, said the community was ready to help in any way possible.

The eight-year-old's disappearance prompted a search and nationwide appeal similar to the one on television screens this week for Milly.

In the Walton area, almost every shop, pub and business has posters up and local people are still distributing leaflets and putting up new appeals.

Mrs Payne said: "It's very important to keep it going, to keep it in the public's mind.

Pop appeal

"But we'll do anything to help in this town, just tell us what it is that needs doing and we'll do it."

She added that during the hunt for her daughter, police officers who worked on the Josie Russell case had helped out.

Pop idol winner Will Young made an appeal to Amanda to get in touch with her family, before he appeared on stage at Sheffield Arena on Friday evening.

Milly's last movements
Click here for a larger map of what happened
Enlarge image Enlarge image

A Surrey Police spokeswoman said Amanda was a huge fan of the Pop Idol programme, and had attended a concert featuring the finalists on the Tuesday before she went missing.

Police have confirmed that a white purse found near where Amanda had disappeared did not belong to her.

The purse was discovered by a member of the public and reported to Crimewatch, but the schoolgirl's parents had ruled it out as a clue.

The BBC One programme screened a reconstruction of Amanda's last known movements which has led to more than 325 phone calls.

BBC correspondent Clarence Mitchell says police investigating her disappearance are keeping "a completely open mind".

He says they "still do not know how or why she disappeared".

The BBC's Clarence Mitchell
"They will be bringing their experience from the Payne investigation"

Click here for more from Southern Counties
See also:

28 Mar 02 | England
TV appeal for missing Amanda
27 Mar 02 | England
Parents fear Amanda was abducted
27 Mar 02 | England
Aerial search for missing girl
26 Mar 02 | England
CCTV appeal for missing girl
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