Detectives investigating the disappearance of a 15-year-old are now treating the case as child abduction. Maddie Thomas has been missing from her foster home in the Southmead area of Bristol since Tuesday, April 26 and officers believe she is likely to be with a man.
Officers had previously been treating her disappearance as a missing persons case and Avon and Somerset Police have issued multiple public appeals to find her. In an update issued on Wednesday afternoon (11 May), the force says they are no longer treating her case as a missing person investigation but as a child abduction.
Police say Maddie is known to use social media to meet new people who provide her with money and a place to stay but is then exploited by the people she meets. Read more: Missing teen Courtney could be in Abergavenny, Swansea or Cardiff
Detectives say there is a chance Maddie could have traveled out of Bristol and may be as far afield as Wiltshire, London, Cardiff, Bedfordshire or Birmingham. She is known to be found in hotels with men so the police are asking people to have considered a thought and call police if they spot anyone looking like her being booked into a hotel.
Detective Inspector Laura Miller said: “We are no longer investigating Maddie’s disappearance as a missing person case but as a child abduction. When Maddie has previously gone missing she has been found in the company of adult men and it is mainly due to this history that we believe she is likely to currently be with someone.
“Maddie is a child in foster care, no-one has permission to keep her from her carers. She is vulnerable and at risk of being taken advantage of. We’re really concerned about her safety and have a dedicated team working extremely hard to locate her.”
DI Miller added: “No one has seen or heard from Maddie for 15 days – since she saw a relative on April 26 when she said she was going to the shop. The circumstances of her disappearance are deeply worrying for us; her family and her carers.
“We have a number of lines of inquiry and while we’ve had a great deal of help from the public to date for which we’re incredibly grateful, we still need more. Officers have carried out CCTV inquiries in the Southmead area where Maddie was last seen and posters have also been handed out to local residents by officers going house to house.
“But Maddie could be anywhere in the country and so we really need our appeal to be shared and reported on as widely as possible. We’re asking anyone who sees Maddie to call 999 immediately and anyone who speaks to her or sees her online to call 101. Maddie – if you see this please contact us if you can to let us know you’re safe. Everyone is worried about you.”
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