Cumbria police are marking the two month anniversary of the disappearance of missing teenage mum, Catalina, and her baby son by conducting a high profile leaflet drop tomorrow among Romanian and Roma communities in Manchester.
On 19th February 2013, officers from Cumbria Constabulary are joining colleagues from Greater Manchester Police to mark the two month anniversary of the children’s disappearance by targeting key areas where they believe they may be staying with family or friends.
15 year old Catalina Covaci and her seven month old son, Ricardo, went missing from their home in Penrith, Cumbria, after Catalina boarded a train in Penrith bound for Manchester Piccadilly on Wednesday 19th December 2012. She took this train after telling her guardians she was taking a routine walk with Ricardo into Penrith town centre.
Police established that they travelled on a train from Penrith to Manchester Piccadilly which arrived at around 1.40pm. She was seen to take a metrolink to Oldham and hasn’t been seen since.
Catalina is originally from Romania, but lived in France for four years prior to coming to Cumbria in 2011. A team of officers is dedicated to the missing persons enquiry which is now being run from a major incident room in Durranhill, Carlisle. Over the past two months, officers have extended their enquiries far and wide to ensure that everything possible is done to find them both safe and well. Police forces across the country and in Europe have been notified of her disappearance, and officers are working with the UK Border Agency and Interpol in order to establish whether Catalina has travelled out of the country.
Police have released images of Catalina and Ricardo, CCTV of them in Penrith train station then, later, another CCTV image after establishing that Catalina spoke to a passing commuter when she arrived in Manchester Piccadilly train station at 1.40pm on Wednesday 19 December 2012. All images can be found on Cumbria Constabulary’s website: www.cumbria.police.uk
Enquiry teams and specially trained search officers have conducted a number of enquires in Northumbria, Birmingham, Scotland and Greater Manchester areas. These enquiries will be continuing this week to mark the two month disappearance, with officers handing out leaflets to the public in parts of Manchester frequented by members of the Roma and Romanian communities.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Lesley Hanson said: “We are doing everything we can to raise awareness of Catalina and Ricardo’s disappearance and still believe that there are people out there who know where they are.
“Catalina is 15 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. She is young, vulnerable, has no money and left Penrith with her baby son. Finding them safe and well is my team’s absolute priority.
“Over the last eight weeks, police have searched 18 addresses in six different policing areas, progressed in excess of 200 lines of enquiry, and taken over twenty witness statements. We won’t leave a stone unturned until we find them.
“Catalina has established links with the Romanian and Roma travelling communities and we are continuing to appeal for their help so that we ensure her and her son are safe and well.
“We have made countless appeals for help from the public and I’d like to thank all those who have called in with information. We are now doing everything we can to raise awareness of their disappearance amongst the Romanian and Roma travelling communities as we believe someone out there is helping them, or may know where they are.
“If you think you may have seen Catalina or Ricardo – or think you may have information that can help us – please come forward and contact Carlisle police urgently on 101.”
Julia Morrison, Cumbria County Council's Director of Children's Services, said: “We are extremely concerned about the welfare of Catalina and her baby son. She is a child herself, and very vulnerable. We are working very closely with our colleagues in the police to ensure that every lead is followed and everything possible is done to find these children and return them safely. I would ask anyone who has any information at all about the whereabouts of Catalina and Ricardo to do the right thing, and contact the police.”
Cumbria Constabulary continues to work alongside police forces around the country who are helping to raise awareness of her disappearance. Interpol are also assisting by beginning international enquiries.
Police officers are using #helpfindcatalina on Twitter 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.
You can view this article and photographs of the missing children on Cumbria Constabulary’s website – www.cumbria.police.uk or on our social networking accounts www.twitter.com/cumbriapolice or www.facebook.com/cumbriapolice