The search is continuing for
missing Croydon girl Tia Sharp (Metropolitan
Detectives searching for vanished schoolgirl Tia Sharp are
examining similar cases of missing children including
the fake kidnapping of Shannon Matthews, it was revealed
They are searching for similarities in other cases where children
have vanished without trace for no apparent reason.
Tia, 12, who has never run away before, disappeared from her
grandmother’s house in New Addington last Friday after
telling relatives she was going shopping at the Whitgift
Centre a few miles away in Croydon.
Scotland Yard today denied officers from West Yorkshire police,
which investigated the Matthews case, were involved in
It was also being reported this afternoon that they will
be talking to officers involved in the Madeleine McCann
However, sources said detectives were consulting the National
Policing Improvement Agency about other cases of
children who have disappeared.
He said : “Cases like this are extremely unusual and we are looking
for similarities to other cases. We have not ruled out
anything in this inquiry but it is wrong to say that we
are focusing on one line of inquiry.”
Nine-year-old Shannon Matthews was kidnapped by her mother and her
partner’s uncle in February 2008.
Karen Matthews and her accomplice Michael Donovan, from Dewsbury,
were convicted in December 2008 of her kidnap, which
they committed in a plan to claim £50,000 in reward
money. They were both sentenced to eight years in jail
but have since been released.
Tia is thought to have been last seen at the house where her
grandmother Christine Sharp, 46, lives with partner
Stuart Hazell, 37, at The Lindens in New Addington.
Mr Hazell, who has a conviction for drug dealing and is the last
known person to see Tia, was questioned by police as a
witness for more than two hours yesterday before
Today Tia’s biological father Steven Carter said : “There’s been
malicious messages posted on Facebook. They are having a
dig at Tia’s mum’s side of the family.
“Tia’s mum is very distressed. The focus seems to be going away
from Tia but people should spend time posting pictures
of her not making negative comments.”
David Sharp, uncle on the mum’s side, younger brother, denied
claims there is a rift in the family.
“We’ve all known each other for years and there’s never been any
problem. We stand united.”
Police have searched Tia’s grandmother’s bins and others around the
estate, using sticks to scour through rubbish.
More than 80 officers have joined the hunt for Tia, while members
of the local community have staged their own searches in
the area where she vanished. Scotland Yard has received
more than 300 calls and 60 reported sightings of Tia,
including a member of the public who came forward saying
they saw her leaving her grandmother’s house at about
noon on Friday.
Metropolitan Police area commander Neil Basu said police could not
be “absolutely sure” who the last person to see Tia on
the estate was. He stressed the investigation remains a
missing persons inquiry, with no suspects, adding: “I am
looking to find Tia safe and well.”
Meanwhile vigilante groups carrying out their own searches for
missing schoolgirl Tia Sharp were today told they could
be destroying crucial evidence.