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UK police launch search for missing Indian boy

January 23, 2009 09:37 IST

The search for a 15-year-old Indian schoolboy, who went missing earlier this month in Britain's Reading town, has been stepped up by the police.

Jonathan Marques from Goa, who disappeared on January 6 on his way to his Blessed Hugh Faringdon School in the town, moved to United Kingdom three years ago with his parents and was reportedly keen to return to India.

The local police have alerted police forces across Britain and are coordinating the search operation.

Amidst a public campaign and prayers by the Goan community in London, Reading and elsewhere for his safety, police officers are 'pulling out all stops' to find Marques, who moved to Britain three years ago from Goa with his parents.

"All police forces across the country, along with the Missing Persons Bureau, have been made aware of Jonathan. The support from the community has been great and I can reassure people that we are pulling out all the stops as we try and find Jonathan," the search operation's head, Detective Chief Inspector Stan Gilmour, said.

It was the largest ever missing person investigation in Reading, he said.

His father, Menino Marques, said, "We have no clue at all where he is. God alone knows where he is. The family is worried about Jonathan.

"If Jonathan is anywhere or somebody is taking care of him just release him from your hands and take him home because his mum, daddy, sisters, brother, all the family are looking for him."

However, Marques was reported to be unhappy with the move to Britain and was keen to return to Goa.

Besides Reading and nearby areas, the search has now widened to west Berkshire and London, where a possible sighting has been reported.

The police searched nearby canals and reconstructed Marques' last known journey to his Blessed Hugh Faringdon school. Over 25 dedicated officers are working to piece together the schoolboy's last movements.

"The sighting in London is something we are currently looking at and we are trying to prioritise and collate all the evidence that is coming in. All leads that come to us are followed up fully and all police forces collate all the evidence that is coming in," Gilmour said.

Also involved in the search are officers from the Specialist Search and Recovery Team based in Sulhampstead.

SSRT official Andy Clark said, "We are searching the water because we believe this is the route that Jonathan took to school and we want to eliminate all possibilities."

Prasun Sonwalkar in London
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