A SENIOR detective who has taken over the investigation into the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence today said he still hoped to bring her suspected killer to justice.
Detective Superintendent Wayne Fox, head of the North Yorkshire Major Investigation Team, spoke out on the 12th anniversary of Claudia going missing.
Claudia, then 35, of York, was last seen on CCTV on her way home from work at the University of York on March 18, 2009.
Her father Peter Lawrence, who never gave up his search for his daughter, died last month.
Det Supt Fox said police has conducted two “extensive and exhaustive investigations” since Claudia had vanished.
These had included taking thousands of statements, trawling through thousands of hours of CCTV footage and consulting with experts in the National Crime Agency and the FBI.
He said: “We have also arrested and interviewed a number of people. Sadly, we have not yet been able to find Claudia, or fully provide the answers that her family so desperately need.
“In October last year, following the retirement of Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, I was appointed as the new senior investigating officer in charge of the Claudia Lawrence case. I share his determination and sincerely hope that one day we will find Claudia and bring to justice those responsible for her suspected murder.
“Today, on the 12th anniversary of her disappearance, our hearts go out to Claudia’s loved ones; they have endured unrelenting anguish and trauma throughout this time. I want to express our sympathy and ongoing support to Claudia’s mother Joan, to her sister Ali, and to her many good friends. It is deeply sad that Claudia’s father Peter died just a few weeks ago, never knowing what happened to his daughter.”
Det Supt Fox said he believed there were people out there who either knew or have strong suspicions over what happened to Claudia.
He said: “For whatever reason, they have maintained a silence for 12 years. That is an awfully long time to carry such a burden of guilt. The longer you carry it, the greater the anguish you are causing to Claudia’s family and friends. Please do the right thing, come forward and speak to me.”
He thanked the public for information supplied to the investigation over the years, and urged anyone who may be able to help further to get in touch.
He said: “If you know something that could help us find Claudia, or those involved in her disappearance and suspected murder, please come forward. It is not too late.”
• Anyone with information should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option one, and speak to the Force Control Room. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Please quote “Claudia Lawrence”.