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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

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Tynedale: Rail journey riddle in hunt for Janis

THE search for missing Tynedale woman Janis Hall switched to Simonburn yesterday after it emerged she may have been in the village two days after her disappearance three weeks ago.

Police have received information from a motorist who picked up a woman in the North Tyne village, and took her to Hexham railway station, at around 5.15pm on Saturday December 21.

The motorist said the woman, who is described as wearing a long black or dark coloured coat with a hood, said she was heading to Lancaster.

However, she does not appear on CCTV at the station and police insist she did not board a train at that time.

Yesterday, neighbourhood officers began handing out leaflets in the Simonburn area to jog memories of people who may have seen the woman, in a bid to establish whether she was 65-year-old Mrs Hall.

The widow’s family have made another emotional plea for help from members of the public.

Mrs Hall’s son Ian and his wife Kate said: “We are absolutely distraught that after three weeks of continuous searching our mother has not been found.

“We need to know that she is safe and well. The not knowing where she is or how she is, is worrying us sick. We feel numb.

“Our two children Freya and Evie are missing their grandma dearly, especially over the recent Christmas period. They wanted to share this time with their grandma.”

The family praised the police, volunteers teams and other organisations which have been involved with the ongoing search.

They added: “We can’t thank them enough for what they are doing. We would urge members of the public to think back over the last three weeks. Any information, no matter how small, could help in finding her.

“Over the last couple of weeks the weather has been awful which has added to the worry. The police, search and rescue, and all other resources involved are working hard to follow every avenue.”

Supt Mick Paterson said police had received several reports of possible sightings of Mrs Hall, and that searches were continuing in Catton and surrounding areas.

He explained: “We have been following lines of inquiry around this particular report in Simonburn since it was made. We hope the leaflets will encourage anyone with information, or the woman who was picked up and dropped off, to come forward.”

Last weekend, specially trained marine rescue officers were drafted in to carry out searches in the River Allen.

Mrs Hall is 5ft 4ins tall, with grey short hair, and wore glasses. At the time of her disappearance, she was possibly wearing a green fleece coat, black trousers and a black fur Russian-style hat.