Police searching for a 21-year-old university student who went missing in the early hours of Boxing Day say they are “increasingly concerned” for her welfare.
Sophie Smith left her home in Gorleston, Norfolk, at around 3am, without her mobile phone. Her distraught mother Lynn Shaw wrote on Facebook: “Sophie you are my world, why didn’t I protect you? Please come home, please just walk through the door.”
Norfolk Police appealed for help to find her as their search entered its third day on Thursday. Police helicopters, lifeboats and fire crews have also joined the investigation.
A spokesman said: “Police are becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of a missing 21-year-old girl from Gorleston.
“Sophie Smith went missing around 3am on Boxing Day (26 December 2017) from her address in Avondale Road in the town.”
Officers are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen Sophie or knows of her current whereabouts.
Police and volunteer search teams from Sulsar are completing a five-mile radius search around her family home.
Inspector Will Drummond, who is leading the search told the Great Yarmouth Mercury: “I know that Sophie has been going through a rough time prior to going missing. I can’t really say anymore than that at the moment but it forms part of our enquiries.
“This is the first time she has gone missing which makes it very concerning for us and also the fact she doesn’t have a mobile phone with her so it would be very hard for her to reach out or for us to make contact with her.
“We are increasingly concerned about her due to her previous behaviour just before going, and the fact we think she left so unprepared for the weather with regards to clothing.”
Sophie is described as being white, about 5ft 8in tall, of a slim build with shoulder length blonde hair.
It is believed she was wearing a dark-coloured vest top and light-coloured shorts.
An online group called Find Sophie Smith has amassed nearly 8,000 members, with her mother revealing: “We have been overwhelmed by the Facebook campaign and messages of help, love and support and thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts.”
The University of East Anglia, where Sophie is a biomedicine student, said in a statement:
“All our thoughts are with Sophie, her family and her friends. Our paramount concern is for Sophie’s safety and welfare and we would urge anyone who may have information about her whereabouts to contact Norfolk Police on 101.”