This intro to an article in UK’s The Independent here and the appeal for more information here is reminiscent of the questions we have been asking about Sharlinie since her disappearance in broad daylight more than a month ago. Where is Sharlinie?
Last night, in the town being combed day and night for missing nine-year-old Shannon Matthews, they were beginning to ask the question to which there is no comfortable answer: how come, in the most electronically scrutinised nation on earth and with a quarry wearing such distinctive clothing, there has been not a single CCTV image or sighting of her since she left her Dewsbury school on Tuesday afternoon?
……For since then the massive search of this West Yorkshire town has failed to yield a single clue to where Shannon can be. More than 250 police officers, plus volunteers, have spent four days and five nights in freezing temperatures searching the alleys, streets, wastelands and moors. Shannon’s face is on front pages, websites, posters, even T-shirts, and on television. But nothing…..(Read more here.)
While the whole country is abuzz with election fever, I searched the Net in the hope of good news and with half a mind to find out how the media in UK handled the search for the still missing nine-year-old girl Shannon Matthews. Alas, no good news was forthcoming and it struck me that, unlike the US, the UK did not launch what would be considered an Amber Alert or Child Rescue Alert for Shannon. However, the police have been using the media to the fullest to get information on the missing girl. She went missing on 19 Feb 2008 and the BBC news footage shows West Yorkshire police went on TV to appeal for information but already 48 hours after she went missing. The police officer interviewed did say that his officers had been working on her case within the first 24 hours of the report of her going missing. The West Yorkshire Police Department also keeps the public updated through their website here
Since then, CCTV footage of Shannon taken just hours before she went missing have been released to the public in the hope that someone would have seen her. It has been six days since her disappearance and the latest news is that there are fears that she may have been murdered here as police trawl the bottom of a pond for clues. I wonder why an Amber Alert was not triggered? Was it because the police had suspected that she is a runaway? Surely, a nine year old would never be safe alone no matter how streetwise she might be. I do appreciate though that the UK charity Missing People, published information and a poster of Shannon on their website here and were also invited on BBC’s Newsround to make an appeal to Shannon to call the Runaway Helpline. It is quite obvious that everyone concerned is focused on finding this child, hoping she is safe and, noticeably, they are not passing judgement nor blaming her parents.
I hope there will be good news soon for Shannon while we here in Malaysia will not have any news on the search for Sharlinie with the newspapers filled with election campaign stories in the run up to the March 8, 2008 polling date. Unfortunately for Sharlinie, though her name will be oft repeated in the same breath as Nurin Jazlin by political hopefuls, I wonder if the political aspirants would be just as eager to search for her in the midst of their door to door campaigning. Imagine if one of them found Sharlinie still alive and safe, the entire country would vote for that candidate and their party hands down! But would they really care to do that? No, other than blaming the police for the rise in crime rate, her parents for being negligent and the Government for everything under the sun, the political aspirants would be just as stumped as the West Yorkshire Police. Watch the following videoclips, a chronology of reports on BBC World News channel in YouTube:
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