(PICTURED: CCTV of Catalina in Penrith train station on Wednesday 19 December 2012)
Police officers looking for missing Catalina Covaci and her baby son Ricardo have turned to international colleagues to help them widen their search.
Catalina, who is originally from Romania but has resided in Cumbria for the last year and a half, went missing before Christmas. On Wednesday 19 December she left her Penrith home after telling her guardians she was taking her routine walk into Penrith town centre with her son. However, Catalina was seen with her son at Penrith Train Station on the morning of Wednesday 19th December 2012 and police have established that they travelled on a train from Penrith to Manchester Piccadilly which arrived at around 2.40pm. She hasn’t been seen since.
Police officers have contacted Interpol and a search has now begun internationally with enquiries so far extending to France, where some of Catalina’s relatives are known to reside.
Detective Inspector Furzana Nazir is coordinating the search for Catalina. She said: “We are stepping up our efforts to trace Catalina and Ricardo and believe that someone out there is helping them.
“Catalina is vulnerable – she is 15, has a baby son with her and took very little money with her when she left home last month. Police, along with her guardians, are growing increasingly worried for their welfare and we have been appealing to anyone who may know of their whereabouts to get in touch.
“This will have been Ricardo’s first Christmas and Catalina may well have wanted to travel to visit family, friends or acquaintances. However time is going on and we need to know that they are safe.
“They haven’t been seen for three weeks now. We know that she boarded a train at Penrith station to Manchester Piccadilly on 19th December and that her last known movements were in the Manchester area. We also know that she has contacts in the city - extending into the Oldham area.
“We are following several lines of enquiry and are now working alongside Interpol to establish whether Catalina has travelled abroad. We have contacted some of Catalina’s relatives in France who state that they have not yet had any contact from her but we know there is a chance she has left the UK. We have shared descriptions of Catalina and Ricardo with Interpol and border agencies to raise as much awareness of her disappearance as possible.
“Catalina has strong links to the travelling and Romanian communities all over the country and are continuing to appeal to her, and to anyone who believes they have seen her or Ricardo, to get in touch.”
Due to her nationwide contacts, police officers launched #helpfindcatalina on Twitter just after Christmas in a bid to reach a wider audience and in the hope that the online community will spread the word and come forward with information.
Catalina and is described as having very long straight hair which is often worn in a bun. She is of a medium-heavy build and has a dark complexion. Photographs of Catalina and Ricardo can be found on www.cumbria.police.uk
DI Nazir continued: “Catalina, if you are reading this, you are not in any trouble. We just need to know you are both safe and well. Please make contact any police officer or a member of your family in Penrith. If you are worried or want to be reassured, you can speak to me directly.
“There are a number of police officers and various police Forces both nationally and internationally trying to find you and we won’t stop until we know you are ok.”
If you see someone matching Catalina’s description or if you have any information, please get in touch with police immediately on 101.
You can view this article and her photograph on Cumbria Constabulary’s website – www.cumbria.police.uk or on our social networking accounts www.twitter.com/cumbriapolice or www.facebook.com/cumbriapolice