'My Jo could be out there in the snow. It breaks me up. I just want to hold her': Distraught parents believe their missing architect daughter was abducted

  • Police search teams examine bins near 25-year-old's flat
  • 'I think she was abducted from her home' says father
  • Architect's boss is distressed by 'strange circumstances'
  • Detectives say pizza she bought before vanishing is vital clue

The parents of missing architect Jo Yeates issued a desperate plea to her abductor yesterday.

David and Teresa Yeates accepted their 25-year-old daughter may already be dead but said that they faced an unbearable ordeal until they knew her fate.

In a harrowing broadcast, Mr Yeates said he believed his daughter, who disappeared in Bristol on Friday, had been abducted.

Tearful: David and Theresa Yeates appealed for information about the disappearance of their daughter Jo

So full of life: Joanna pictured (left) on a night out at a party recently and (right) on her graduation day

‘Just let her go,’ he said. ‘If you have . . . if she is dead, then please tell somebody where she is. We want her back whatever.’


December 17, 6pm: Miss Yeates left the architectural firm where she worked with boyfriend Greg Reardon and joined colleagues in the Ram pub in Park Street for a drink.

8pm: She left the Ram to walk the 20 minute journey home from the city centre to Clifton.

8.10pm: Miss Yeates was caught on CCTV popping into a Waitrose supermarket in the Clifton Triangle

8.30pm: She used her mobile to ring her best friend Rebecca Scott and arranged to meet on Dec 24.

8.40pm: At a Tesco Express on Regent Street in Clifton Village - about a quarter of mile from her flat - Miss Yeates bought a pizza, which is missing.
Police believe she returned home to her flat in Canynge Road, which she shared with Mr Reardon.

December 19: Mr Reardon reports Miss Yeates missing when he returns to Bristol from a weekend away visiting relatives in Sheffield.

December 20: Avon and Somerset Police make their first appeal for information over Miss Yeates' disappearance. Officers said they were concerned for safety because it was out of character.

December 21: Miss Yeates' parents, David and Theresa, make their first tearful appeal for information at a police press conference in Bristol.

December 22: Mr Reardon spoke of his distress at the disappearance of his girlfriend. 'I desperately want her back - I thought we would be together forever,' he said. Specialist officers search the couple's flat and the Bristol Downs and Avon Gorge. They took a phone and laptop computer from Mr Reardon.

December 23: Miss Yeates' parents make a second tearful appeal and reveal their fears for their daughter's safety.

And he sobbed as he went on: ‘I was stood outside having a cigarette. It was cold. I was thinking my daughter, maybe she was out there by herself in the snow, frozen. It breaks me up. I want to be there to hold her.

‘I’ve got to believe that she’s alive. There’s too much life in her. If the inevitable . . . if it turns outs that she isn’t, I still want her back.’

Mrs Yeates added in a desperate plea to any abductor: ‘Just let her go. Let her go, let her come back to me, and her dad and her family. Please.’

Miss Yeates’s architect boyfriend Greg Reardon, 27, whose phone and computer have been seized by police as part of routine inquiries, is understood to have arrived for a weekend in Sheffield with family before she disappeared.

Her mother suggested yesterday that he had returned to the flat at around 8.30pm on Sunday, and raised the alarm at midnight after realising she had left her keys, purse and coat in the flat.

Detectives baffled by the disappearance are understood to have received a call from a woman at a party opposite the flat on Friday who said she heard loud screams which she assumed were playful.

Forensics officers were yesterday searching gardens near the party house and there were claims DNA tests were being conducted on male guests.

Police also began searching the grounds of a nearby public school, closed for the holidays, after a broken fence panel was found.

Police are understood to be speaking to detectives from an unsolved West Country murder case with stark similarities.

But the most striking part of the police operation was the missing woman’s parents’ televised appeal for her return.

Mission: Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue set up a base around the Clifton Downs area of Bristol where they are searching for Joanna Yeates

Mr Yeates, 63, an IT professional, and Mrs Yeates, 58, who works for Waitrose, repeatedly wept and clutched each other in despair as they spoke of their darkest fears about her uncharacteristic disappearance.

Miss Yeates, who had been working alongside boyfriend Mr Reardon at Building Design Partnership landscape architects in Bristol, had been planning to stay in, baking mince pies over the weekend while he was visiting family in Sheffield.

Darkest fears: Christmas is suspended until Jo comes back, says Joanna's father. Here Joanna is pictured on a night out in fancy dress (left) and on holiday in Stuttgart, Germany (right)

Mr Yeates, from Ampfield in Hampshire, said: ‘Christmas is suspended until Jo comes back so everything’s on hold. It’s a difficult time but we can’t celebrate anything, we’ve got nothing to celebrate.

‘I think, my personal feelings, she’s been abducted after getting home, from her flat. I didn’t think for a second she would ever leave of her own volition.’

Asked whether he thought someone close to her could be involved in her his daughter’s disappearance, Mr Yeates said: ‘Not close. Unless something happened which got out of control.’

Last picture: CCTV footage of Joanna Yeates at a Waitrose supermarket in Clifton, Bristol, last Friday. A massive police hunt is underway following her disappearance

All smiles: The 25-year-old architect and her boyfriend Greg Reardon. Police have combed the Bristol Downs in connection with their search for her

Search: Police examine a wheelie bin near the flat belonging to Jo Yeates, left, while DCI Gareth Bevan displays a pizza of the type bought by the architect when she was last seen

Mr Reardon was understood to be in Bristol with Miss Yeates’s parents yesterday, after spending the previous day at their Hampshire home.

Officers in the hunt are also understood to have liaised with detectives involved in the unsolved Melanie Hall murder inquiry.

Miss Hall vanished from a nightclub in nearby Bath in 1996 and her remains were eventually found next to the M5 13 years later.

A man was arrested in July after handing himself into a police station, but nobody has ever been charged for her murder.

Officers became alerted to the case because of the similarity in the young women’s disappearance after a night out with friends and both of them having similar short blonde haircuts and being 25 when they went missing.

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