THE father of missing Paige Chivers is clinging to the hope that his precious daughter will get in touch – despite police upgrading their search to a murder investigation.
Frank Chivers says not a day goes by when he does not think of his daughter, but he feels the pain even more now detectives have declared that their evidence points towards Paige having been killed.
Police, who have been investigating the whereabouts of the former Montgomery High School pupil for more than four years, yesterday confirmed they are investigating Paige’s disappearance as murder – the day she should have been celebrating her 20th birthday.
Paige vanished when she was just 16. She was spotted boarding a number 11 bus on Ashfield Road in Bispham and heading into Blackpool. There have been no confirmed sightings of her since.
Mr Chivers, 48, of Walter Robinson Court, Layton, said: “I think about her all the time.
“When someone passes away, their family can bury their body – but we don’t know where Paige is. That’s the hard part – not knowing.”
“Instead of being a missing child case, it’s now a murder case. It was upsetting – it’s just because of the span of time so there is always hope.”
Paige’s grandmother Dorothy Chivers, 73, from Bispham, added: “We still miss her. We wish her a happy birthday and hope she gets in touch. Even though the police now say it is a murder investigation, it’s in my heart she is still alive. ”
Paige went missing on August 23, 2007 having walked out of her Longford Avenue home.
Police launched a missing person investigation after she was reported missing three days later. Officers searched the Fylde coast for the teenager and even followed leads up in the North East, Manchester, Croydon, Nottingham, and Sheffield.
A £2,000 reward was put up by a local businessman and the police and in May 2008 an underwater search team dredged a lake on Kincraig Road, in Bispham.
A 51-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder in December 2009 but was released without charge.
Paige’s family say they still hope to receive a phone call from Paige.
Mr Chivers added: “I would like Paige to get in contact one way or another to say she is alive and well.
“I sat in my flat reminiscing on her birthday. It’s an upsetting day, it’s difficult.”
Detectives say they have “exhausted potential leads” and there is a lack of evidence that she is still alive.
Det Supt Dermott Horrigan, who is leading the investigation, said: “The investigation into the disappearance of Paige Chivers has now been declared a murder inquiry.
“Lancashire Police keeps all cases under continuing review and has taken the decision based on the evidence available and length of time that Paige has been missing.
“We remain committed to finding out the truth about what has happened to Paige.
“I would stress it is never too late for people to come forward with new information.
“This is an on-going investigation and anyone with any information about the disappearance of Paige Chivers should contact Blackpool Police on (01253) 293933 or 101.”