Na­tion­wide ap­peal to find miss­ing Cairns teen

Townsville Bulletin - - National Snapshot -

QUEENS­LAND po­lice are mak­ing a na­tion­wide ap­peal for help in find­ing miss­ing Cairns teenager De­clan Crouch ( pic­tured).

De­clan, 13, has been miss­ing for two weeks and an in­ten­sive po­lice op­er­a­tion – in­volv­ing land and wa­ter searches and a ma­jor pub­lic­ity cam­paign – has failed to find anysign of him.

As­sis­tant Com-mis­sioner Kata­rina Caroll told re­porters i n Cairns t hat po­lice knew no more about what had hap­pened to the teenager than they did about a fort­night ago.

‘‘ In terms of bona fide, cred­i­ble, re­li­able leads, at this stage we don’t have any,’’ she said.

She said the case was a pri­or­ity for po­lice in Cairns and across the state and it was hoped na­tional me­dia at­ten­tion would help shed light on De­clan’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

‘ ‘ We are hop­ing that through the me­dia that it will ex­tend be­yond Cairns and it will go to a na­tional level if it has to,’’ she said.

Ms Car­roll said po­lice were par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in in­for­ma­tion about the hour or so af­ter De­clan re­turned to his Machans Beach home from school, around 3.50pm on March 9.

‘‘ That is an ex­traor­di­nar­ily im­por­tant win­dow for us to fo­cus on,’’ she said.

The fam­ily was hold­ing on to hope De­clan was OK but the sit­u­a­tion was in­creas­ingly grave.

‘‘ Ob­vi­ously for them it is a very dif­fi­cult time,’’ she said.

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