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January 18, 2003


From: Exeter Express, UK - 18 Jan 2003


The father of 16-year-old Devon schoolgirl Rachael Hathaway who has been missing for nearly a month today appealed for any of her friends who had heard from her to get in touch.

David Hathaway said his family was becoming increasingly concerned for the safety of Rachael, who has not been seen or heard from since she disappeared from where she was staying in Exmouth, on December 22.

It is believed the teenager ran away to be with her 23-year-old boyfriend who has connections in Birmingham and Cardiff.

Mr Hathaway appealed to any of her friends who may have been contacted by his daughter to come forward.

It is thought she may be sending text messages from her mobile phone to friends.

Mr Hathaway, from Cullompton, said: "Every day that passes we become more concerned about her safety and well-being.

"It is terrible. It has been many weeks since she first went missing. Our hope is that she may have contacted some of her college friends.

"If that is the case they might know where she is. We just want to make sure that she is safe. She has run away in the past, but not for this length of time."

Rachael, who is tone-deaf and sometimes wears hearing aids, left her home with just £20.

The teenager is a student at Cullompton Community College, where she is studying for her GCSEs.

She has a 16-year-old brother, Stuart, and 13-year-old sister, Emma.

Mr Hathaway added: "Rachael's brother and sister are very anxious about her safety.

"It has been a very difficult Christmas and new year for everyone."

Mr Hathaway said that his daughter had been in a relationship with the 23-year-old boyfriend for more than a year.

He said the family had tried to halt the affair, but Rachael was infatuated with him.

Rachael is described as 5ft 8ins, slim, with long brown hair, a pale complexion and brown eyes.

She was wearing black trousers and a red fleece with a Stella Artois logo on it when she went missing. Police have asked anyone with information to contact 08705 777444.

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