Police have issued another appeal for help in tracing missing Sheffield teenager Erika Kacicova - one week on from the day she vanished from home.
Officers believe Erika, of Poole Road, Darnall, who turned 13 two days before she disappeared on Monday, August 5, left home ‘of her own volition’ rather than being snatched.
They are looking into the possibility that she may be a victim of child sexual exploitation.
“It’s most certainly something that is part of our investigation and we are very alive to it as we would be when it’s a 13-year-old girl that has gone missing,” said DI Helen Tate, who is leading the police probe into the disappearance.
She said Erika knows the two men arrested by police on suspicion of child abduction - one aged 22 and the other 37.
DI Tate said she is ‘reasonably confident’ that the older man has been in contact with the youngster over the last few days and that she believes Erika is still alive.
She revealed that the Sheffield Park Academy pupil celebrated her 13th birthday two days before she vanished last Monday and that her family, including her younger sister and brother, are ‘really missing her’ and ‘worried’.
Police believe she may be in Bradford, where a number of homes have been raided in a bid to trace her.
Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright said: “I share everyone’s concern that we find Erika quickly and establish that she is safe and well.
“Erika is only 13 years old and has been missing for a week. Her parents and siblings, I know, are extremely worried about her, as any parent, brother or sister would be in such upsetting circumstances.
“I have spoken to the force this morning about the efforts they are making to trace Erika and I am satisfied that everything that could be done is being done to find her safe and well as quickly as possible.
“I would repeat the comments made by the officer leading the investigation, that if anyone knows where Erika is, or may have some clues about where she is, that they come forward and speak to the police urgently.”
Kelly Mills, a classroom assistant who works with Erika at Sheffield Park Academy, said: “Everyone at school is really really worried about you, all we want os to know you are safe.
“You are not in any trouble whatsoever. All you need to do is go to a police station and the police will take care of you.”
She said Erika is ‘bubbly, full of life and popular with staff and students alike’.
”She is a joy’, she added.
Anyone with information on Erika’s whereabouts should call police on 101.