Charlene Downes Blackpool murder: 20-year anniversary renewed appeal over missing schoolgirl with £100,000 reward
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It is 20 years since Blackpool teenager Charlene Downes disappeared and the search to find out what happened to her continues.
The police enquiry uncovered evidence that she was a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation prior to her going missing.
Lancashire Police’s most senior detective has today appealed to people to search their conscience and think back 20 years to when Charlene went missing.
Detective Chief Supt Pauline Stables, the Constabulary’s head of crime, said: “We have never given up on our quest to find out what happened to Charlene, and I know there are people out there who will have information which would help us. It’s 20 years since Charlene disappeared and people are older now and their loyalties, priorities and acquaintances may have changed and that allows them to think differently than you might have done previously.
“In the past people might not have wanted or felt able to come forward with what they know and speak to police but now they may feel they can and I would urge them to do so. Even if you think the information you have is insignificant, please share it with us and let us be the judge. It may be a piece of the jigsaw that we are missing; by coming forward and telling us what you know can only help us. You may hold information that is crucial to finding out what happened to Charlene.”
“We want justice for Charlene, we want justice for Charlene’s parents and family. Charlene was a vulnerable teenage girl in Blackpool who was being exploited and there will have been other children in the same position who knew Charlene and perhaps know what happened to her. Perhaps you were too frightened and afraid to tell someone what was happening and who was involved. Now time has moved on, you may feel that you can now speak to us.
“It’s not too late to get justice for Charlene and provide some answers for her family who have been suffering for 20 agonising years. We remain determined to bring her loved ones the closure they deserve.”
The investigation is one of the largest and longest running in the history of Lancashire Police. A £100,000 reward, sanctioned by Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden, remains on offer for anyone with information that leads to the prosecution of her killer(s) or assists in the recovery of Charlene’s body.
Over the last 20 years, Lancashire Police’s inquiry into Charlene’s disappearance has generated nearly 16,000 police actions or lines of inquiry. More than 6,800 statements have been taken and 7,400 exhibits recorded.
Anyone with information on Charlene’s disappearance is asked to contact police on 101 quoting log LC-20231027-0663 or can call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. They can also submit information directly to the Major Incident Public Portal here