POLICE searching for a teen mother and her baby son have turned to international colleagues for help.
Officers looking for Catalina Covaci and son, Ricardo, have turned to Interpol as part of their quest to track down the pair, who went missing from Penrith before Christmas.
Ms Covaci, 15, who is originally from Romania but has lived in Cumbria for the last year and a half, went missing on December 19 after telling her guardians she was taking a walk into Penrith town centre with her son.
However, the pair were seen at Penrith Train Station that morning and police have established that they travelled on a train to Manchester Piccadilly, which arrived at around 2.40pm. Neither has been seen since.
Now police officers working to track down Ms Covaci have contacted Interpol and a search has begun internationally, with enquiries so far extending to France, where some of Catalina’s relatives are known to live.
Detective Inspector Furzana Nazir, who is co-ordinating the search for Catalina, said: “We are stepping up our efforts to trace Catalina and Ricardo and believe that someone out there is helping them.
“Catalina is vulnerable – she is 15, has a baby son with her and took very little money with her when she left home last month.
“Police, along with her guardians, are growing increasingly worried for their welfare and we have been appealing to anyone who may know of their whereabouts to get in touch.
“This will have been Ricardo’s first Christmas and Catalina may well have wanted to travel to visit family, friends or acquaintances.
“However time is going on and we need to know that they are safe.”
She explained that Ms Covaci’s last known movements were in Manchester, where she has contacts extending into the Oldham area.
She continued: “We have contacted some of Catalina’s relatives in France who state that they have not yet had any contact from her but we know there is a chance she has left the UK.
“We have shared descriptions of Catalina and Ricardo with Interpol and border agencies to raise as much awareness of her disappearance as possible.
“Catalina has strong links to the travelling and Romanian communities all over the country and are continuing to appeal to her, and to anyone who believes they have seen her or Ricardo, to get in touch.”
Due to her nationwide contacts, police officers launched #helpfindcatalina on Twitter just after Christmas in a bid to reach a wider audience, in the hope that the online community will spread the word and come forward with information.
Catalina is described as having very long straight hair which is often worn in a bun. She is of a medium-heavy build and has a dark complexion.
Photographs of Catalina and Ricardo can be found on www.cumbria.police.uk.
DI Nazir continued: “Catalina, if you are reading this, you are not in any trouble. We just need to know you are both safe and well."
Anybody with information should contact police on 101.