- Tower Hamlets
Today marks the sixth day of the search for Tia Sharp, the 12-year-old girl who has been missing since she left her grandmother’s house in New Addington around midday on Friday.
The partner of Tia’s grandmother, Stuart Hazell, 37, is reported to be the last person to see Tia before she went missing, although there are conflicting accounts as to whether this was at her grandmother’s home or at East Croydon Tram Station. Police have also been searching Tia’s grandmother’s house.
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola from the Metropolitan Police said: “We know Tia was at her grandmother’s house and slept late on the morning of Friday August 3. She then left to get the bus. She told her grandmother’s partner she was going out. He was the last person to see her, that we are aware of at this time.”
Tia normally lives with her mother, Natalie Sharp, and step-father, David Niles, in Mitcham, but often stays with her grandmother in New Addington.
A police search dog and two handlers went into the grandmother’s home for around half an hour this afternoon whilst Scola updated the family on the latest developments about the investigation. Police also searched nearby woodland again earlier this morning. Around 60 police officers had searched the area of Birch Wood yesterday, about one mile from where Tia went missing.
However police told journalists today that there was no evidence that Tia had come to any harm and they were still treating the investigation as a missing persons case.
A number of police officers have been brought in to aid the investigation, including officers originally posted to cover the Olympics. Police have focused on reviewing CCTV footage as they try to confirm where Tia went missing. They have so far searched about 120 hours of footage, roughly a sixth of the total CCTV footage that they have obtained.
As yet, there have been no verified sightings of Tia after she left her grandmother’s home. However, yesterday Tia’s mother, Natalie Sharp, told The Telegraph newspaper: “I have an independent witness that she left on her own walking down the road.”
Public support for the search has continued. Around 100 people gathered at Croydon Rugby Club last night to meet with police and help with the search for the girl and some are expected to continue looking today. A large Facebook group has been arranging for posters and fliers to be printed and distributed across south London.
The MP for Croydon Central, Gavin Barwell, also urged locals to join in the search. “I’m the father of young children myself so I want to help. I’d urge anyone with information to get in touch with the police,” he said.
Tia’s Uncle, David Sharp, said yesterday: “Once again thank you to all those kind hearted people that are out there searching day and night posting fliers and putting them in every place they can to find her!”
Meanwhile, Tia’s stepfather David Niles, 29, said that the family were “in bits”. Although not Tia’s biological father, he said that he had “been there since day dot”.
“Just find my little girl,” he urged.
Tia is described as being white, around 4 foot 5 inches tall and of slim build. She was last seen wearing glasses and a yellow singlet top. Anyone with information about Tia’s whereabouts should call the incident room on 0208 721 4005 or or Missing People on 116 000.