Police desperately trying to locate missing Sarah Everard’s disappearance are grappling with several unanswered questions as her family appeal for help.
Sarah, 33, has not been seen since last week, when she left a friend’s home in Clapham, South London, and investigators say she has “disappeared into thin air”.
Her anxious family have joined the search in the capital after travelling from York, and her sister yesterday said “we must find her” in a heartbreaking social media post.
Detectives are still trying to piece together the route Sarah took, and it is not clear whether she reached her home.
A source close to the investigation told the Evening Standard: “It’s like she just disappeared into thin air (after the last CCTV sighting).
“We think she went up Poynders Road because it’s usually busy and safer than the back routes.”
Sarah’s uncle Nick Everard told The York Press: “These are desperate times for the family. We know the police are doing everything they can but it’s the not knowing what has happened after four days that is agonising.
“My brother and sister-in-law are beside themselves with worry. They’re doing everything they can to help find her.”
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Sarah’s sister Katie – who has travelled to London with her parents and brother James – yesterday wrote on Instagram: “I shouldn’t have to see your face on missing posters.
“Thank you all so much for your support. We have to find her.”
What we know
Sarah, 33, had been at a friend’s house in Leathwaite Road, Clapham until she left to walk home at around 9pm on Wednesday, March 3.
She left the property through a back gate onto the A205 South Circular and began walking to her home in Brixton.
She was seen on CCTV at approximately 9.30pm walking on the A205 Poynders Road, from the junction with Cavendish Road, in the direction of Tulse Hill, but she has not been seen since.
The Metropolitan Police and London Search and Rescue have been searching Clapham Common and Agnes Riley Gardens, as well as going door-to-door to search bins and gardens for any evidence of her whereabouts.
A hat found in the search for Sarah was yesterday confirmed to be unrelated to her disappearance.
Detectives are working to trace Sarah’s steps from Wednesday night, and will be trying to solve a number of unanswered questions.
Did she ever make it home?
Sarah left her friends home at around 9pm, and was last seen walking alone on A205 Poynders Road in the direction of Tulse Hill.
Her walk home should have taken her about 50 minutes, but police cannot confirm whether she ever made it home.
There are no further CCTV sightings after she was seen at 9.30pm, with people urged to check dashcam and personal security footage for any sign of her.
It is not known if she reached her home in Brixton and went out again.
Did she walk through Clapham Common?
Sarah’s walking route between Leathwaite Road and Poynders Road remain unknown to the police.
She is thought to have taken a route home that would have seen her walk across Clapham Common, but the police have been unable to confirm this for sure.
The police have asked anyone in the area to check their doorbell or CCTV cameras to help place Sarah on her route home.
They have also asked any delivery drivers or drivers in the Poynders Road area at approximately 9:30pm on Wednesday to come forward with any dashcam footage.
Is she being held against her will?
Sarah’s uncle made a plea to any possible abductor to release the 33-year-old and “let her come home”.
Nick Everard said to The Sun : “If someone is holding her against her will I would plead with them just to be human and to let her come home, to let her talk to us, give us a ring or text to let us know she is OK.”
The police, who have not suggested that this may be the case, are still currently treating the case as a missing person’s enquiry.
The Met said: “I want to remain clear that at this time we have no information to suggest that Sarah has come to any harm and we retain an open mind as to the circumstances.”
Did she veer off her route home?
One of the main priorities of the police right now is to trace Sarah during her walk home.
The police are calling for all those with CCTV and dashcam footage in the area that night to come forward as this is crucial in mapping out her route home and her last known steps.
Was Sarah at Clapham Junction station?
A report on social media on Sunday, March 7 claimed that there had been a sighting of Sarah at Clapham Junction, raising hopes she would be found safe and well.
A spokesperson for Met Police said the force received reports of the sighting and sent officers to search the area.
However, a search of the station and its surrounding area was unsuccessful, they confirmed.
The spokesperson said: “There was a report of a sighting at Clapham Junction station yesterday. Officers carried out a search of the area – but unfortunately Sarah wasn’t found.”
Is it linked to previous reports of attacks on women?
The Times reports that officers investigating the disappearance had been told of assaults on women in the area previously.
In January, the Metropolitan Police was said to have had a report of sexual harassment on a young female on Hydethorpe Road, half a mile from where Sarah was last spotted on CCTV.
In early February, a woman was reportedly seen being chased by a man just over a mile away.
And just three weeks ago, a 14-year-old girl was claimed to have been followed by a man in a van less than half a mile from Sarah’s last sighting.
Meanwhile, reports of groups of men following a woman in nearby Balham have also been made.
Investigators reportedly said the disappearance is not being linked to other incidents and is being treated as a missing persons case.
Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin, who is leading the investigation, said: “This is definitely a missing person investigation at the moment but I remain open-minded as to all possibilities in the investigation.”