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Friday, 13 December, 2002, 13:48 GMT
Teenage runaway found in Turkey
Mehmet Ocak and Rachael Lloyd
Mehmet Ocak and Rachael Lloyd in a bar in Turkey
A teenage girl who ran away to Turkey to marry a barman is now in police custody after being found safe and well in his flat.

Rachael Lloyd, 14, had sparked a police hunt involving Interpol after she contacted her family to say she would not leave Mehmet Ocak, 24, to return to north Wales.

But North Wales Police said on Friday lunchtime she had been located in Mr Ocak's south east home city of Gaziantep, on the Syria border, and was being held along with her lover.

Arrangements have begun to take her home, they said.

Detectives will give more details of the girl's ordeal in a 1600 GMT press conference. It is not clear what, if any, charges they may face.

Rachael's father, Bob Lloyd, was already planning to fly to Turkey from Manchester Airport to assist the search on Friday.

Search operation

Rachael had gone missing from her home two weeks ago, leaving no clue as to her whereabouts.

Bob Lloyd, Rachael's father
Bob Lloyd: Worried for Rachael's safety

On Thursday, the teenager was reported to have flown to Turkey on a false passport after her own passport was confiscated by her parents.

She telephoned her mother to say she was staying with her new husband.

Rachael met Mr Ocak, who is understood to already be married, on a trip to Turkey during May half-term.

Within days, he had apparently proposed, although Turkish law prohibits girls under 15 from marrying.

The pair were believed to be in Istanbul. Fears grew for the success of the search operation, given the 10m population of the city.

But the UK Foreign Office confirmed Friday lunchtime that Rachael had been found.

"We can confirm that Rachael Lloyd was found earlier today and she is safe and well," a spokesman said.

"It is up to her family whether they wish to disclose any other details.

A spokesman added: "A member of our consulate will meet Rachael's father later today and take him to Gaziantep."

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Loftus in Wrexham said the priority now was to get the girl home in Wales.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Sue French
"Safe and well in the hands of the Turkish authorities"

More from north east Wales
See also:

11 Dec 02 | Country profiles
22 Jul 02 | Islamic world
28 Feb 02 | Europe
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