Cops search family home of girl, 17, who vanished seven weeks ago as woman and man quizzed by police

COPS have searched the family home of a 17-year-old girl who vanished seven weeks ago while a woman and man were probed by officers.

Police this afternoon launched forensic searches at the home of Bernadette Walker, now believed to have been murdered.

It comes as a woman in her 30s from Peterborough and a man in his 50s were arrested and quizzed by cops.

Detectives from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit declared it as a “no body” murder investigation.

Bernadette’s parents Sarah and Scott Walker told police that they last saw her on July 18 when she ran out of their car.

Ms Walker said her daughter texted her nearly two days later at 1am on July 20 to say that she would be returning “soon” to the family’s five bedroom council home in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

But when they heard nothing more, she was reported missing from Peterborough the following day on July 21.

A neighbour of Bernadette’s parents who asked not to be named said today: “They are really lovely and always smiling. They are a good family and had just had a baby girl. There were a lot of children – but they seemed to cope fine. They were always looking out for their children

“I spoke to them after Bernadette went missing to wish them all the best and they were really gutted about it.

“I messaged her when the news came out about a suspect man being arrested and she said she had just come back from giving a statement to police. I just told her that I hoped everything goes well.”

Police have been carrying out enquiries and searches in an attempt to locate Bernadette, however an investigation has now been launched into her murder.

DCI Jerry Waite said: "Due to the length of time Bernadette has been missing and concerns she may have come to some harm, we made the decision to declare this a murder investigation yesterday morning.

"Whilst we hope we do find Bernadette alive and well, there is every possibility this may not be the case therefore my team and I will do everything possible to find out what has happened to her and bring any offenders to justice."

Mum Sarah Walker has asked the public to help her in distributing posters, hoping that she will be found and will return home. 

She said: "We have had no contact with her since 1am on July 20, when she texted me to say she would be home soon. None of her friends have heard from her and she's not accessed social media.

"I can't eat or sleep properly. I miss and love my eldest princess so much, she's missing out on her baby sister, who has learned to smile and coo already. 

"I have to think that she is hiding at one of her friend's homes, worried about coming home now that the police will want to speak to her, I can't think of any alternative scenarios, I just can't."

Anyone with information on Bernadette’s whereabouts or what has happened to her is urged to contact police either by using the online webchat function, or by calling 101 and quoting Operation Penshaw.

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