Police officers are today (Tuesday) carrying out searches for Northamptonshire teenager Sarah Benford ahead of what would be her 30th birthday.
Sarah has not been seen since she went missing from her care home in Northampton in April 2000 and her disappearance has been treated as a murder investigation since 2003.
Sarah from Kettering was just 14 when she went missing and with a significant birthday approaching on Saturday (March 19), her family are still hopeful for some information which will help police solve the mystery of her disappearance.
Sarah’s mum, Vicky Benford, said: “My daughter, Sarah, should be celebrating her 30th birthday this week.
“Sarah has a brother and sister who miss her every day and we all need to know what has happened to her.
“Sarah went missing in April 2000, and I have spent the last 16 years wondering where she is.
“As a family we are looking for closure around her disappearance and somebody must know something.
“We would ask for people to contact the police if they know anything about Sarah’s disappearance.
“As a family we need to come to terms with what has happened and won’t be able to do this until we know what has happened to Sarah.”
Since the launch of the murder investigation officers have pursued more than 5,000 lines of enquiry, taken 664 statements and collated more than 1,000 reports.
The investigation has also been reviewed by Derbyshire and Leicestershire Police and the Northamptonshire cold case team has also been reviewing the information and evidence from the case.
As part of this review officers have spoken to 20 people and taken further statements and reports.
It is this work which has led to today’s searches.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Kinchin, said: “Extensive searches took place when Sarah first went missing almost 16 years ago, and eight people have been arrested in connection with her disappearance, but no-one has ever been charged.
“We believe Sarah may have been murdered in the early days of her disappearance and are today searching an area of land in the hope of finding some connection to her.
“We are also continuing to appeal to the public for their help in finding out what happened to Sarah.
“I am sure that people in the Kettering area may know what happened to her, or have heard rumours about what happened – I want those people to come forward.”