These are the lost youngsters of the Midlands – missing children who have disappeared without a trace.
As the world hunts for Madeleine McCann there are almost a dozen families across the region who, like parents Kate and Gerry McCann, are still desperate for answers over where there loved ones are.
And the 10 youngsters who have vanished from the streets of the region are just a handful of the 121 children across the UK that the Missing People charity is working to track down.
Some, like Linh Bui, aged 16, have been missing for a matter of months while others, like Stourport’s Maria Aldridge have not been seen for decades.
Schoolboy pals David Spencer, aged 13, and Patrick Warren, just 11, went missing in 1996 on their way to meet a relative.
One of the most high-profile outstanding cases is that of Natalie Putt, the 17-year-old from the Lower Gornal area of Dudley, who has been missing for more than 10 years.
The young mother vanished in September 2003 and has not been seen since.
Last month there was a renewed appeal to mark the 10th anniversary of her disappearance but Natalie’s half-sister Rebecca Coggins says she is still no closer to knowing what happened. Despite that though she says she will never give up hope.
“I thought when they launched the new appeal, somebody might remember something, but there’s been nothing at all, it’s exactly the same,” she said.
Mrs Coggins, who now lives in Nottingham, said she hoped the renewed publicity surrounding Madeleine McCann following a feature on Crimewatch, might help keep Natalie’s case in the public’s mind and added: “I think you have got to remain hopeful, you can’t give up and say there’s no hope.
“We’re quite a strong family, and we tend to support each other. Me and my other sister talk about her quite a lot, she’s the missing part of our family.
“We often say things like ‘what would Natalie think about that?’
“We’re three sisters, not two, and it’s very hard, it eats away at you.”
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