Aside from the obvious struggles that come with having a missing loved one – one of the hardest aspects can be the constant fight to keep cases alive. After initial investigations, cold cases are often solved by new evidence and sometimes this comes in the form of a new witness or tip.
I am always inspired by how families keep their cases in the media and as our world constantly changes and develops, it’s important for campaigns to move with it. That’s why I was particularly touched by the Missing People’s Choir who recently auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent.
Naturally they touched the hearts of millions and their emotional performance brought tears to the eyes of many. The choir is made up of staff and volunteers for the charity, as well as the families of some of Britain’s missing.
If you haven’t seen it, I suggest that you do, it’s a really powerful and moving tribute.
I am personally hoping that they win the show but the main reason they took part in this process is for exposure and for people to be reminded about their missing loved one’s.
So today, I am going to be helping with this cause, as we look at the faces and the cases behind the Missing People’s Choir.
*This is a very long post because it will cover 5 missing person cases. *
Richard “Richey” Edwards //
Originally a roadie for Welsh alternative rock band the Manic Street Preachers, Richey had a talent for writing beautiful songs and eventually became the bands fourth member. So prolific were his famous lyrics that many have named Edwards to be one of the best lyricists of his generation.
Yet despite his incredible talent, Richey had long battled with severe bouts of depression and openly discussed this in a number of interviews. He admitted that he had self-harmed and on one occasion he had checked himself in The Priory in London.
On the 1st of February 1995, Richey Edwards disappeared, the same date he was due to fly to the U.S. for a promotional tour. Over the two weeks leading up to his disappearance, Richey withdraw £200.00 a day meaning that by the time he went missing he would have had roughly £2800.
At the time he went missing, Richey had been staying at the Embassy Hotel in Bayswater Road London. He packed up his wallet, car keys, passport and Prozac, and checked out at 7am.
Several people reported seeing Richey at the Newport passport office and bus station. In one of these incidents, a fan actually reported speaking to Richey about a mutual friend and therefore knew that it was him.
On the 7th of February a taxi driver from Newport claims to have picked Richey up from the King’s Hotel and drove him around the South Wales valleys, including his hometown of Blackwood. The driver reported that Richey was putting on a Cockney accent, which was inconsistent and often slipped in to his Welsh accent. He also asked the driver if he could lay down on the back seat. When they reached Blackwood station, Richey stated that it wasn’t the right place and asked to be taken to Pontypool instead. Eventually Richey got out at the Severn View Service station and paid the £68.00 fare.
A week later on the 14th of February, Richey’s Vauxhall Cavalier received a parking ticket at the Severn View service station. Three days later the car was reported abandoned and the police discovered that the car battery was flat and the car appeared to have been lived in. The station is close the Severn bridge, a notorious suicide hotspot and the police therefore presumed that the owner had taken their own life. His family do not support this theory.
Since he went missing there have been hundreds of sightings but none have ever been proven and the case remains unsolved.
In November 2008, Richey Edwards was legally declared dead.
Claudia Lawrence //
Claudia Lawrence was born on the 27th of February 1974 and would have been 35 years old when she disappeared in March of 2009. At the time she went missing, Claudia was working at the University of York as a chef and lived in Melrose gate, Heworth.
On the 18th of March 2008, Claudia attended her job as normal and then started her two-mile work home. She stopped to post a letter at this time and was caught doing so on CCTV.
Shortly after this, she was seen by a colleague who stopped to give her a lift home. He dropped her at her home address at 3.10pm but she left again shortly after. About 15 minutes later she was seen walking home again.
Over the course of the next few hours, Claudia made two calls to her mother. The last of which being at 8pm – 8.30pm, during which she made Mother’s Day plans. At this time Claudia said she was at home and had her TV on in the background
During this call she had told her mother that she planned to have an early night.
At 8.23pm Claudia sent a text to her friend, this was the last text that she would ever send. This is a fact that is really suspicious for family and friends because she was known to text much later than this. In fact, Claudia sent 1000s of texts every single month.
At 9.12pm Claudia received a text from a friend of hers who worked in a bar in Cyprus. She never replied to this message and never used the phone again.
At 12.10pm on the 19th of March, her phone was “deliberately” turned off.
Due to the hours that Claudia worked, she sometimes had to walk the two-mile journey to work in the early hours of the morning. This is what she should have done during the early hours of the 19th of March 2009 as she was due to start at 6am but she never arrived at work.
We don’t know if Claudia went missing sometime in the evening or on this walk to work. There seem to be reasons to believe that it could have been either of these.
Three days later on Friday the 20th of March 2008, her father reported her missing.
Six weeks after Claudia disappeared the police reclassified the case as a murder and that is how it has been treated ever since.
I have written a full and detailed blog post about Claudia’s case.
Lee Boxell //
Lee Darren Boxell was born on the 16th of February 1973 and was aged just 15 when he disappeared in 1988. When he went missing Lee was 5ft 6in, slim with light brown hair and was wearing black jeans, a white Flintstones T-shirt and brown suede shoes.
On the morning of Saturday, the 10th of September 1988, Lee left this home to meet up with friends in Sutton. This was around 11am and they spent roughly two hours’ window shopping before leaving at 1pm. At this time, Lee told his friends that he might go to Selhurst Park to watch the football, Charlton Athletic were playing Millwall.
There were no sightings of Lee at any local football ground but someone did see him outside Tesco on Sutton High Street at 2.20pm, making it unlikely that he went to any game.
Lee was never seen again.
In 2012 the police were informed that Lee had attended an unofficial youth club called “The Shed”. This club was supposedly held inside the annexe of St Dunstalls church and has since been linked to sexual abuse.
A few years ago the grave digger at St Dunstalls church, named William Lambert, was convicted for abusing two underage girls. Since this information was discovered, the police have excavated the area but have still not found Lee.
However, police remain convinced that there is a link between Lee and this abuse and are working on the theory that “Lee may have died intervening to try and stop sexual abuse”.
It has now been 29 years since Lee disappeared and his parents are desperate for answers. Since he went missing they have kept his bedroom exactly how it was in memory of their missing son.
Quentin Godwin //
In 1973, Quentin Godwin was born, he was the only boy and had 3 sisters. In 1975 the family moved to New Zealand. He loved the outdoors and was particularly passionate about bee keeping, a hobby he had started when he was 11.
While his home life was happy, Quentin did suffer from mental health problems and was diagnosed with bipolar when he was 17. His family do think that his depression “might have played a part in his disappearance”. On their website they state that it wasn’t so much that Quentin was unhappy at home but that “he was unhappy with himself”.
In May 1992, when he was 18 years old, Quentin went missing. At the time Quentin had an afterschool job and worked in a supermarket. On the day he disappeared, he told his sister that he was heading in to town for his shift. This was the last time he was seen.
The next morning, Quentin’s father discovered a note in his son’s bedroom. His mother, Sarah, was in the U.K. visiting her parents at the time. In an interview with Get Surrey, his mother commented that “you could read it as a suicide note or just a deeply unhappy one”.
Since then there have been several sightings and strange calls but nothing has come of these. One of these calls was made by a woman who claimed to be Quentin’s wife and that she had a child with him.
In February 2014, an inquest claimed that Quentin was dead but couldn’t give any more information. This was despite there being no evidence.
In November 2015 police were told a story about how Quentin died in 1992 and where it happened. They passed this information on to the family and investigated the claims, however there was no hard evidence and no charges were brought. The family have stated the police were fantastic and they do not blame them for this.
In the article with Get Surrey, Sarah had the following message for her son; “Let us know where you are and how you are, just let us know how your life is really and if you didn’t want to get in touch, fine, but it would be fantastic to know you are around.”
It has now been 25 years since he walked out of his home and was never seen again, the parents hope that this will be the year that the case is finally solved.
Charles Horvath-Allan //
Charles Horvath-Allan was born on the 21st of August 1968 and was a Canadian born British national.
In 1989 he was hiking and backpacking across Canada when he disappeared under suspicious circumstances. After visiting his father and godfather in Ontario, he arrived in Kelowna, British Columbia on the 3rd of May 1989.
During this time he had stayed in a number of hostels, a friend’s home and eventually the Tiny Tent Town. On the 11th of May he sent a fax to his mother discussing their plans to meet in Hong Kong in August for his 21st birthday. However, he never confirmed this with her and that is when she started to get worried.
The last confirmed sighting of Charles was on the 26th of May when he cashed a cheque at a bank in Orchard Park.
Over the next few weeks his mother contacted the RCMP to ask them for help locating her son and on the 10th of August he was reported missing.
Police later found that he had left his belongings inside the tent at the Tiny Tent Town and this gave them cause for concern.
Over the next few years the police failed to find any significant leads and Charles’ mother returned to the country. On one visit in 1992, his mother was sent a letter that stated that Charles had been killed after getting involved in a fight. The letter stated that his body was in the Lake Okanagan. The lake was searched but there was no sign of Charles.
The Royal Canadian Mounted police describe the case as cold but open and to believe that Charles met with foul play.
In 2015, his mother made her final visit to the area, stating that her health was likely to prevent her from returning again.
You can play your part in helping to solve these cases by reading, sharing and commenting on the information provided. Sometimes it only takes one person to solve an entire case and who knows, it might just take that person to see a post like this.
And please support the choir.
If you have any information on any of the cases discussed, you are urged to contact the relevant authorities.