Mother turns detective in desperate search for missing son

Mother Catherine Leach of missing Daniel Smith
Mother Catherine Leach of missing Daniel Smith

A MUM has turned detective in a desperate bid to find her missing son.

It’s now approaching five weeks since former Whitburn Comprehensive School pupil Daniel Smith, 25, “vanished from sight”.

With little evidence to work on, his desperate mum Catherine Leach, of Livingston Place, South Shields, has taken it on herself to search for evidence.

She is finding it impossible to come to terms with the fact that no one knows what happened to her beloved son.

Miss Leach has printed posters calling for information and passed them out at Seaburn seafront, amid suggestions Daniel may have been there on the last day he was seen – Friday, March 20.

She has also persuaded the caretaker at Sandhaven caravan park to scour through dozens of hours of CCTV footage after a man fitting Daniel’s description was seen sitting by himself and “looking lost” at the nearby quarry.

This week she also injured her foot while scouring for evidence with a stick at the bottom of Marsden Rock.

And she has contacted both Newcastle United and Sunderland football clubs to ask if they can issue half-time appeals for information at their next home games.

Now Northumbria Police has assigned to Miss Leach an officer to keep her fully informed on all developments in the case.

On the day he disappeared, Daniel had been drinking at the Yates’s bar in the city with a friend before returning to his home in Villette Path, Hendon.

At 6.40pm, he bought cigarettes at a local shop, and his girlfriend received a picture text from him, taken near the Little Italy restaurant on Seaburn seafront, at 8pm.

It’s not known whether Daniel was at Seaburn at the time, but he did make one final call to his girlfriend at 8.40pm that night.

She did not answer, and he left no message.

Miss Leach fears her son is dead, but cannot give up on her search for him until he is found.

She said: “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. I went to the quarry opposite the caravan park in South Shields this week and I approached a couple of young lads for help.

“Before I could speak one of the lads said they knew Danny really well and that they were really sorry. That was it. I just broke down crying on the grass, I couldn’t stop crying.

“If he did go over the cliffs, I just don’t understand why his body has not been found. I won’t give up, I can’t give up and I’ll send posters all over the country. He could be anywhere, we just don’t know.

“Everyone has been so kind. They want to help me find my son.”

Anyone with information about where Daniel might be is asked to call police on 101 ext 69191, quoting reference 1113 21/03/15.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul