‘Our search for Charlene will not end’

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Rhodes and (below) Charlene Downes, aged 24 - what she would of looked like. facial recognition done by Dr Faye Skelton from Uclan and Dr Charlie Frowd at the University of Winchester.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Rhodes and (below) Charlene Downes, aged 24 - what she would of looked like. facial recognition done by Dr Faye Skelton from Uclan and Dr Charlie Frowd at the University of Winchester.
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Lancashire Police chiefs today said they have never given up hope of finding out what happened to Charlene Downes.

But despite a police investigation spanning a decade, dozens of media appeals and heartfelt pleas from the family, the mystery has never been solved.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Rhodes and (below) Charlene Downes, aged 24 - what she would of looked like. facial recognition done by Dr Faye Skelton from Uclan and Dr Charlie Frowd at the University of Winchester.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Rhodes and (below) Charlene Downes, aged 24 - what she would of looked like. facial recognition done by Dr Faye Skelton from Uclan and Dr Charlie Frowd at the University of Winchester.

And if she has, as police started to suspect seven years ago, been murdered, those responsible have never been brought to justice.

To try to find the answers the teenager’s family so desperately need, Assistant Chief Constable Andy Rhodes has pledged to renew the force’s commitment to solving the case by creating a dedicated team headed up by Senior Investigating Officer, Superintendent Andy Webster.

ACC Andy Rhodes, said: “This 10th anniversary of Charlene’s disappearance gives us a good opportunity for a new appeal for information to try to jog people’s memories about what happened to Charlene and who is responsible. This will be a difficult time for her family and friends and our thoughts are with them, as they always have been.

“While we have never given up our search for information about what happened to Charlene, we are reviewing all aspects of the investigation again in the hope that we can uncover some new leads or revisit some old ones again.”

Detectives hope the poignant anniversary will encourage people to come forward with any information about what happened to Charlene.

He said: “There will be people who know what happened to Charlene. She was just 14 years old when she went missing and was murdered, her body has never been found and I would appeal to anyone who has any information to come forward. It’s not too late to make a difference.”

The Constabulary is also using the publicity around the anniversary to refresh their appeal into the disappearance and murder of another local teenager, Paige Chivers, who vanished in August 2007 aged just 15. Similarly, she has never been found.

ACC Rhodes added: “There is nothing evidentially that links these cases at present although we would never rule it out but, as with Charlene, I would also ask people to remember Paige and again, let us know if there’s anything they have been keeping to themselves about what happened to her.

“We know that people are more confident in coming forward to report historic information nowadays and this may be the case here.

“We appreciate that a considerable amount of time has passed since both Charlene and Paige went missing but we would still encourage anyone with information to come forward and speak to us as it could assist in our inquiries, and help bring the killer or killers to justice.”

Anyone with information about either of these cases should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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