BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  UK: England
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 16:52 GMT
Amanda 'not taken by force'
Amanda Dowler (left) with her family
Amanda Dowler (left) went missing nine days ago
Detectives hunting for missing schoolgirl Amanda Dowler say she may have disappeared with someone she knew.

Superintendent Alan Sharp of Surrey Police said officers were considering the possibility, as they had received no reports of a struggle in the area where the 13-year-old disappeared.

He added the teenager may also have gone missing of her own free will, and admitted that police still had no suspects in their investigation.

Supt Alan Sharp
Superintendent Alan Sharp: "No reports of a struggle"
Amanda, known as Milly, disappeared on Thursday last week as she walked from the railway station near her house in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

On Saturday, Mr Sharp renewed his appeal to Amanda to get in touch with her parents Bob and Sally.

There had been a number of apparent sightings of her, but none had been confirmed.

He told reporters that calls detectives had received "have led us to conclude it is much more likely Amanda has gone with someone she knows than she has been taken by force and abducted off the street".

CCTV footage

"A 13-year-old girl is unlikely not to put up a struggle if she is being taken against her will."

Earlier on Saturday forensic officers finished their painstaking search of the family home.

Mr Sharp again stressed that Amanda's parents and relatives were not suspects, nor were builders who had been working on a conservatory at their home.

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

Police had taken a number of items from the property to try to "build up a picture of what sort of girl Amanda is and what sort of friends she has," he said.

Examination of fresh CCTV footage, attempts to trace Amanda's mobile phone and house-to-house inquiries had so far drawn a blank, he said.

"We are still not very much further forward than we were despite the appeals," he said.

Meanwhile, officers from the Sarah Payne investigation have joined the team of 100 hunting for Amanda.

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

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

Her mother Sara, who lives in Hersham near Walton, is helping in the search for Amanda and vowed to do "anything" to assist.

Pop appeal

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.

Before he appeared on stage at Sheffield Arena on Friday, pop idol winner Will Young made an appeal to Amanda - a huge fan - to get in touch with her family.

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.

Superintendent Alan Sharp
"All lines of inquiry are still open"
The BBC's Helen Simms
"So far the investigation is no further forward"

Click here for more from Southern Counties
See also:

30 Mar 02 | England
Payne police help in Amanda hunt
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
Internet links:

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

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

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories