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Boyfriend goes missing after 'walking 280 miles to see girlfriend during lockdown'

Published : Wednesday, 1 April, 2020 at 7:19 PM  Count : 1003

Boyfriend goes missing after 'walking 280 miles to see girlfriend during lockdown'

Boyfriend goes missing after 'walking 280 miles to see girlfriend during lockdown'

A teenage girl says her missing boyfriend could be walking 280 miles to see her amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Meg Rhodes, 16, has pleaded for her boyfriend Owen Harding, also 16, to "come home" after he went missing from his home last Thursday, March 26.

The couple have been in a long distance relationship for two years as Ms Rhodes, from Pocklington, near York, lives 280 miles away from Mr Harding who is from Saltdean, East Sussex.

She said due to travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus outbreak, he hasn't been able to take the train to see her and he may have attempted to walk the distance to see her.

He was last seen leaving his home in East Sussex between 6pm and 7pm last Thursday.

Ms Rhodes said: "Owen and I have known each other since we were 11, and, in the last two years it developed from a friendship to a relationship.

"We've maintained it over the distance, but he has taken the travel restrictions imposed by Covid-19 quite hard.

"Living in different cities, it was going to be tough for us to see each other for a while and he wasn't going to be able to take a train to see me.

"He left home on Thursday night and we think there is a possibility he is trying to walk to York."

His worried mum Stella said his disappearance was out of character and fears he may have come to harm.

Mrs Harding said: "It is very unlike Owen to go missing and to not be in contact with friends, family or his girlfriend.

"Clearly, it is a really difficult time at the moment and we're all desperately worried, especially since this is so out of character.

"We need to be open to investigating all avenues at this critical time, when the clock is ticking and Owen still hasn't been found.

"We want to ask anyone who lives in the Yorkshire area to keep an eye out for him and report any information they have to the police."

Sussex Police said he was last seen leaving his home address at about 7pm, and has not been in touch with any friends or family since then.

Investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Alasdair Henry, of Sussex Police, said: "We have been conducting a number of enquiries into the disappearance of Owen which have included extensive local searches and house to house enquiries.

"We also investigated a potential line of enquiry in regards to information that Owen's phone was in the Bromley area of London, however further enquiries have ruled this out as a possibility.

"We, alongside Owen's friends and family, are keen for information to assist our investigation which can assist us in locating Owen.

"In particular, we would like to hear from anyone who was driving in the Saltdean and Telscombe Cliffs area the evening of Owen's disappearance to check their dashcam footage."

Owen is described as white, 6ft tall, of athletic build, and with short brown hair.

He was wearing a black or dark hooded top, grey tracksuit trousers and white trainers.

If you have information about Owen's whereabouts, report it to Sussex Police immediately either online or call 101, quoting Operation Chartwell.

If you see Owen dial 999


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