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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Emotional appeal for missing teen mum Catalina to get in touch

The guardian of a teenage mum missing from home for a month has pleaded for her to get in touch.

Catalina Covaci, 15 and her six-month-old son Ricardo disappeared on December 19 after she said they were going for a walk into Penrith town centre.

However, they were captured on CCTV at the town's train station and then again on CCTV at Manchester Piccadilly station later in the day. They have not been seen since.

Sally Bennett, Catalina and Ricardo’s guardian, today issued an emotional plea for Catalina to contact her.

“It has been a month now Catalina that you and baby Ricardo have been missing. My children and I are missing you both very much.

“I was really pleased when you contacted us on December 19 to let us know you were both safe and well. I ask again Catalina that you make contact with me or the girls just so we know you are safe and well. We are all very worried that we have not heard from you.”

A six-strong police team, led by detective inspector Furzana Nazir, is searching for the missing teenager, who is originally from Romania but has lived in Cumbria for 18 months.

Inquiry teams and specially trained search officers have conducted inquiries in both the Northumbria and Greater Manchester areas and the UK Border Agency is in touch with Interpol.

DI Nazir said: "This is an unusual and concerning investigation due to the fact that Catalina and Ricardo are so young and have not been in touch with their guardians or local friends to say they are safe and well for one month now.

“Catalina is 15. She left home with her very young son and had little money with her. She is vulnerable and we need to ensure they are both safe. We are continuing to follow numerous lines of inquiry and are not leaving a stone unturned.

“One avenue we are pursuing is the suggestion that she may have been contacting extended family members or acquaintances that she has around the country. This is understandable - it would have been Ricardo’s first Christmas and she may have wanted to visit someone she knew.

“However, time is ticking and concerns are mounting. If someone out there is helping them but refusing to let us know they are okay, they could be breaking the law."

DI Nazir assured Catalina that if she does get in touch with her guardians or the police, she will not be in any trouble.

"My priority remains establishing that you are safe and well. There are a lot of people here who are worried about you. Your guardians miss you. Please, just let someone know you’re okay. Please contact me, your guardians, or any police officer.”

Catalina - who has strong links with various Romanian and travelling communities - is described as having very long straight hair, often worn in a bun. She is medium-heavy build and has a dark complexion.

Anyone who has seen Catalina or who knows where she is should call Cumbria police on 101.

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