Home / NEWS / Hunt for missing midwife widens to edge of Staffordshire moorlands as sister makes emotional appeal for her return

Hunt for missing midwife widens to edge of Staffordshire moorlands as sister makes emotional appeal for her return

Police investigating the disappearance of missing midwife Samantha Eastwood have widened their search to a rural area eight miles from where she was last seen alive.

Specialist teams began searching an area near the village of Caverswall, which lies close to the Staffordshire moorlands, as part of the increasingly desperate hunt for the 28-year-old.

Officers cordoned off a section of the area and began carrying out a painstaking fingertip search for clues.

Ms Eastwood was last seen leaving work at Royal Stoke University Hospital at 7.45am on Friday.

Detective Superintendent Simon Duffy from the force’s major and organised crime department, appealed for the public to report any unusual or suspicious activity, including parked vehicles in rural laybys around the Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire area.

He said: “Today’s extensive searches are part of the ongoing investigation, which has officers and staff working round the clock in an effort to find anything which brings us closer to finding Samantha.”

The search around Caverswall came after police began treating the home of the midwife’s ex-fiance’s brother-in-law as a potential crime scene.

Ms Eastwood vanished after driving home from a night shift at the hospital. Neighbours told police they heard screams coming from her semi-detached house at around 2pm, some six hours after she finished work.

A 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of her kidnap last Sunday but was released on bail.

Miss Eastwood’s devastated sister Gemma, 26, sobbed as she appealed for information about her “happy, bubbly” sibling on Friday, adding: “Without her, half of me is gone.”

Samantha Eastwood has been missing for a week

Credit:
SWNS.com

Detectives released pictures of her £85 Radley purse, which is missing, and asked for anyone with dashcam footage recorded in north Staffordshire last weekend to come forward.

Miss Eastwood had been due to marry John Peake, 34, this June but their engagement was called off in January and Mr Peake moved out of her home. She put her unworn wedding dress up for sale last month.

Police have been stationed outside a property belonging to Mr Peake’s sister, Katie Stirling, and her husband Michael, a fencing contractor, since Sunday.

An officer outside the address, which is three miles from Miss Eastwood’s home in the Baddeley Green area of Stoke,  told reporters the house was being treated as a “scene” and a crime scene log was reportedly visible inside her police vehicle.

CCTV footage captures the moment Samantha Eastwood was last seen as she left work 

Credit:
Staffordshire Police

Another Stoke property connected to the family, whose elderly owner lives in a care home, was searched by forensics experts for several hours, according to neighbours.

A neighbour said: “Me and my wife just came back from church and saw two unmarked police cars in the road. Later on a third one came then a fourth.

“There was a forensic team too and they were there for three or four hours.”

Gemma Eastwood broke down as she appealed for her sister’s safe return

Credit:
Tristan Potter / SWNS.com

Mr Peake, who is understood to have met Miss Eastwood at  Keele University has made repeated appeals for information on social media, while Miss Eastwood’s mother, Carole Eastwood, as said: “I just want my baby back.”

CCTV footage of the midwife leaving work in her blue scrubs last Friday as well as further video footage of her driving her Volvo XC60 away from the hospital has been released by police.

She was reported missing 12 hours later when she failed to turn up for work, which colleagues said was “completely out of character.”

Samantha Eastwood was last seen leaving Royal Stoke University Hospital at 7.45am last Friday

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Pixel8000

Her car was later found at her home, with the keys and bank cards inside her house.

Gemma Eastwood, a support worker, said: “Samantha is a fantastic woman and friend. She is warm, friendly, loyal, kind and generous, with a great sense of humour. And whoever she is with she will always make their times together fun.

“Samantha was determined to become a midwife from a young age and succeeded.

“All of Samantha’s work friends describe her as an amazing midwife.

“She is caring, harmless and gentle. Samantha is selfless and would do anything for anyone before herself.”

A police community support officer stands guard outside the home of Samantha Eastwood

Credit:
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Officers have declined to say whether they have recovered Miss Eastwood’s mobile phone, stating that it was part of an “ongoing investigation”.

Detective Superintendent Simon Duffy, who is leading what is being termed a high-risk missing persons inquiry, said concern was continuing to grow, noting that Miss Eastwood had “no access to money.”

He asked the public to report any sightings of vehicles parked in “strange locations”, isolated areas, or lay-bys, no matter how inconsequential they may appear.

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/03/missing-midwife-sister-makes-emotional-appeal-police-call-dashcam/

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