Guardians of missing teen mum make emotional plea for her to get in touch

Ricardo Covaci and his mother Catalina have not been since for a month

Catalina Covaci was seen with her son talking to a commuter at Manchester Piccadilly on December 19

First published in News

The guardians of a teenage mum and her baby son who went missing from their Cumbria home have pleaded for her to get in touch one month after her disappearance.

Catalina Covaci, 15, is originally from Romania but has resided in Cumbria for the last year and a half.

On Wednesday, December 19, she left her Penrith home with six-month-old son Ricardo after telling her guardians she was taking her routine walk into Penrith town centre.

However, they were captured on CCTV at Penrith railway station and police have established that they travelled to Manchester Piccadilly on a train which arrived at around 1.40pm. She hasn’t been seen since.

A police spokesman said a team of six officers is now dedicated to the missing person's enquiry to ensure that everything possible is done to find them both safe and well.

There are CCTV images of the teenager in Penrith and again later at Picadilly where she is seen talking to a passing commuter.

Enquiry teams and specially trained search officers have conducted a number of enquires in both the Northumbria and Greater Manchester areas.

Detectives from the UK Border Agency are continuing to make enquiries via Interpol in order to establish whether Catalina has travelled out of the country.

Despite these extensive efforts, numerous public appeals and national and international enquiries, Catalina and Ricardo have still not been found.

Their guardians in Penrith are, along with police, growing more and more concerned for their welfare and have made a direct plea to Catalina to contact them.

Sally Bennett, Catalina and Ricardo’s guardian, said:  "It has been a month now Catalina that you and baby Ricardo have been missing. My children and I are missing you both very much.

"I was really pleased when you contacted us on December 19 to let us know you were both safe and well.  I ask again Catalina that you make contact with me or the girls just so we know you are safe and well. We are all very worried that we have not heard from you."

Det Insp Furzana Nazir, who has been leading the investigation since they were both reported missing, said: "This is an unusual and concerning investigation due to the fact that Catalina and Ricardo are so young and have not been in touch with their guardians or local friends to say they are safe and well for one month now.

"We would like to thank the community for their support so far. Numerous calls have come in from members of the public who believe they may have seen Catalina in the Manchester area.

"There was one call from the Northumbria area where a member of the public believed they may have seen Ricardo, and there have been numerous calls from people using public transport who again state that they may have seen Catalina and Ricardo."

She said the leads have all been followed up, but the pair have still not been found.

"She left home with her very young son and had little money with her", she said.

"She is vulnerable and we need to ensure they are both safe. We are continuing to follow numerous lines of enquiry and are not leaving a stone unturned.

"One avenue we are pursuing is the suggestion that she may have been contacting extended family members or acquaintances that she has around the country.

"This is understandable – it would have been Ricardo’s first Christmas and she may have wanted to visit someone she knew.

“However, time is ticking and concerns are mounting. If someone out there is helping them but refusing to let us know they are ok, they could be breaking the law and this will be investigated.

"However my priority continues to be tracing Catalina and Ricardo and I appeal to members of the public and especially those in the Romanian community to remain vigilant, report any sightings of Catalina and Ricardo and to continue to contact the police if you think you have any information that can help.

"If anyone knows anything about Catalina and Ricardo’s movements or their current whereabouts, please get in touch with us now by calling Cumbria police on 101.

And appealing directly to Catalina she said: "I've said all along that you are not in any trouble. My priority remains establishing that you are safe and well. There are a lot of people here who are worried about you. Your guardians miss you.

"Please, just let someone know you're ok. Please contact me, your guardians, or any police officer."

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.

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