Page last updated at 17:42 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Missing girl 1926 inquiry resumes

An actress playing a fictionalised character based on Emma Smith
A short film has been made based on Emma Smith's disappearance

Detectives have reopened an 83-year-old case of a missing teenage girl who may have been murdered.

Emma Alice Smith, 16, was last seen in 1926 as she set off on her bicycle from her home in Waldron, East Sussex, to Horam railway station.

An investigation was started but her body was never found.

Sussex Police have now revealed that a member of family has indicated that she may have been murdered and her body dumped in a nearby pond.

The case has been reopened by the force's major crime branch.

'Proper burial'

Det Ch Insp Trevor Bowles said: "This is a very unusual case.

"We have been approached by a member of Emma's family who has indicated that there is a possibility that she was murdered close to Waldron or Horam and that her body was disposed of locally.

Given the years which have passed this is inevitably a difficult task
Det Ch Insp Trevor Bowles

"Clearly the family are keen to trace the body of Emma, if that is possible, in order that she can be given a proper burial and laid to rest with her close family."

He added: "I am keen to hear from anyone locally who may recall the disappearance of Emma.

"A number of local people have already assisted us and have been able to fill in some of the many gaps which exist.

"Given the years which have passed this is inevitably a difficult task."

A short film based on the disappearance of Emma Smith was screened for the first time in Waldron on Sunday.

Police said the film, called Finding Esther, was made by the local amateur dramatics society, Waldron Community Players.

Mr Bowles, who attended the viewing, addressed the audience about the police investigation into the case.


A film based on Emma Alice Smith's story uncovered evidence which led police to reopen an 80-year-old investigation

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Washington Post83 years after teen disappears, police reopen case - 18 hrs ago
Daily Express Fresh clues in 1926 case of the missing servant - 18 hrs ago
Telegraph Police reopen 83yearold missing girl inquiry after tip off from relative - 22 hrs ago
Observer Photograph triggers murder hunt for girl who went missing 80 years ago - 24 hrs ago
Sky News Cold Case Probe On 1926 'Murder' - 24 hrs ago
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