Missing 16-year-old in net chat fear

FEARS are growing today that a missing 16-year-old girl may have run away with strangers she met over the internet.Distressed grandparents Alan and Bridget Turner, who have had no word from their 16-year-old granddaughter for almost a week, fear internet chat rooms may be responsible.

FEARS are growing today that a missing 16-year-old girl may have run away with strangers she met over the internet.

Distressed grandparents Alan and Bridget Turner, who have had no word from their 16-year-old granddaughter for almost a week, fear internet chat rooms may be responsible.

By ringing people named in her phone book, they have traced her to a phone box in Ilford, Essex, but the trail has gone cold.

Her disappearance comes just days after 12-year-old Shevaun Pennington from Liverpool, flew to Paris with ex-US marine Toby Studabaker who she met over the Internet.

Troubled teen Pagean Turner, who disappeared from the quiet Suffolk village of Barking Tye on Friday, was "obsessed" with visiting internet chat rooms, according to her grandmother.

Mrs Turner added she had left behind a phone book full of mobile numbers, many of which were gleaned from the internet - even though she was banned from using their computer at home.

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On Friday, the day she disappeared, she had agreed to contact a man whom her grandparents believed she had previously met online.

Her grandparents are convinced she is with friends met over the Internet. Suffolk police said they have no particular reason to fear she has met a man first contacted in a chat room - although it is a possible line of inquiry

A police spokesman said today: "There is nothing specific to indicate that is the case. All possibilities remain open at this stage."

At about 10am on the day of her disappearance, Pagean had been driven to Stowmarket by her grandparents to meet, so they thought, an old friend.

Mrs Turner, 64, said: "I took her into Stowmarket on Friday because she said she was going to meet an old school friend, somebody whom we all know. "She said that she was coming back in the evening.

"But she didn't come back and so on Saturday morning, I rang the friend Pagean had said she had gone to see. I thought she might have stayed the night. But the friend said that she had not seen Pagean for about three weeks."

When they realised their granddaughter was missing, the Turners contacted the police and then rang people whose names Pagean had mentioned.

"I rang one or two numbers from her book that she had left behind," said Mrs Turner. "One of the people I rang said that he had spoken to Pagean at about 3pm. I think this chap is someone she had met over the internet, someone she had known for a while.

"He said that Pagean had told him where she was - a phonebox in Ilford, Essex - and that she would call later in the day. But she never did."

Pagean, whose mobile phone is broken, did not take any bags or belongings with her.

Pagean lived with Mr and Mrs Turner in Barking Tye, near Needham Market, for the past three to four weeks following the death of her mother from cancer two years ago.

She walked out of her father's home in Luton, Bedfordshire, after rows over spiralling phone bills, it is believed were sparked in part by her heavy use of the net.

Even though she had no access to the computer at her grandparents' home, Pagean had long been interested in internet chat rooms and contacting people she had met online.

Mrs Turner said: "She spent quite a lot of time on the phone and we believe the numbers she rang were from the internet. We don't know who she was ringing, but we have asked BT to investigate the last two numbers she rang.

"Pagean had a book full of mostly mobile numbers and a lot of these were from the internet. She looked up websites and would go to chat rooms. I think she made quite a few contacts through these. Pagean had quite an obsession."

Pagean often surfed the net in the middle of the night, running up a £1,000 phone bill over just five to six weeks.

After leaving her Luton home, Pagean came to Suffolk where she stayed with her stepfather and then her aunt before finally moving in with her grandparents in Barking Tye.

Pagean has run away from home before.

"She has disappeared to London twice before," said Mrs Turner. "Both times she was brought back by the police. I can never get it out of her where she has been."

Mrs Turner cannot understand why Pagean would run away. "We don't put any pressure on her and we have never had any arguments," she said. "I don't think we would have made any objections if she had wanted to go to London. We would have just wanted to know where she was. I would be happy if she would just ring and say she is all right and where she is."

Mrs Turner's issued a stark warning about the dangers of establishing relationships with strangers over the internet.

She said: "I think chat rooms are a really up-and-coming problem. I think it happens a lot to children who are lonely and want someone to chat to. It is quite fun and exciting.

"Living with two elderly grandparents in a little village can be a bit boring for a 16-year-old and I understand why she wants a bit more than that.

"But I think parents should be aware of what children can pick up if they spend too long on a computer."

N. Pagean is described at white, 5ft 6in tall with dark brown, shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing dark blue jeans with CHICA embroidered on the right-hand back pocket and a light-coloured top.

Anyone with any information should contact the police on 01284 774100.

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