Friends and family of a teenage girl who vanished when she left her Dudley home to go to the shops have launched a fresh appeal to find her – 10 years since she was last seen.
Natalie Putt, of Thornleigh, Lower Gornal, Dudley, was 17 when she disappeared on September 1, 2003. She never returned, despite having a three-month-old son, named Rhys, at home.
Now, a decade later, friends and relatives have renewed their appeals to find Natalie - blitzing social networking websites with appeals for help, including tweets to stars such as Ant and Dec, Lord Sugar, ex Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Jonathan Ross and Boy George.
Natalie’s half sister, 36-year-old Rebecca Coggins, said: “We’ve got to believe there is still some hope that she’s out there somewhere and it would be nice to think she’s made her own little life and is happy.
“But we need to know - that’s the agony.
“We don’t think she would have gone off and left her baby – there’s got to be more to it than meets the eye.
“But we have to face the possibility there was something made her leave that day.
“Natalie going missing has been a journey that you wouldn’t wish on anybody.”
In March police hunting for Natalie started digging up land in a paddock, where she is believed to have once kept two horses, next to Himley Lodge on the A449 Stourbridge Road in Himley.
Hydraulic equipment was used to cut through the concrete floor of a brick outbuilding but police called off the search after finding nothing nearly three days later.
The following month, police revealed that the case of missing Natalie was one of six ‘cold’ cases about which they were appealing to the public for help in solving – the other five cases were murders.
Rebecca said friends had been busy tweeting a ‘missing’ poster about Natalie since yesterday and a fresh plea was posted on a Facebook page set up to try to find her.
“I haven’t got a clue about Twitter but they have and they’re contacting everybody they can think of, even celebrities who don’t know her, to retweet the appeal in the hope that it will bring some news,” she added.
“I’ll be catching up with them later about what response they may have had.
“We will keep the campaign up and running and will never give up – while there’s hope we will keep going.”
TV presenters Holly Willoughby, Kirstie Allsop, Kate Thornton and Jake Humphrey and actress Amanda Holden are among the celebrities invited to retweet the appeal.
Natalie’s son, Rhys, is now aged 10 and living with his father, the missing girl’s boyfriend Kevin McCallum.
In March 2009, Natalie was featured on a missing person programme, which sparked reported sightings of the her in Tipton, Cardiff, Bournemouth and Scotland dating back to 2005.
But, despite police investigations into the sightings, they drew a blank.
West Midlands Police spokesman Brig Ford said today: “The case is still open and if any credible information comes in we will act upon it, as we did in March, when we brought in special equipment to search the land in Himley.”
Sheena Hamilton, who used to own Himley Lodge and now lives next door in Himley Park, said today: “I feel desperately sorry for the family and just hope their new appeal brings some answers – I’m certain that somebody must know something about what has happened to Natalie.
“She was a lovely girl and was only a kid – but she loved her baby and I don’t believe there’s any way she would have just left him.”
Anyone with any information that could lead to finding Natalie is urged to phone police on 101.