Detectives searching for a South Tyneside woman whose disappearance with her daughter sparked an international 'abduction' case have made a new appeal to find a man who may hold the key to tracing their whereabouts.
Kaydance Paige Etchells, now three, was taken from her Canadian home in May last year by her mother Lauren Etchells, who is originally from South Shields.
Lauren, then 31, had separated from her wife Tasha Brown in July 2015 after they had Kaydance through a donor in September 2014.
The girl was living with Lauren, who left South Tyneside as a teenager to live in Qatar and has a dual UK/Canadian citizenship, but was the subject of custody proceedings between the women.
In August 2015, Lauren was told to surrender Kaydance’s UK passport, not to apply for a Canadian one or leave Vancouver Island or the country’s west coast as part of a court order.
But Tasha contacted police when she went against that and got a Canadian document for her daughter and left for London Gatwick with her new partner Marco van der Merwe and their new born son Marcus.
Detectives from Saanich Police in Canada worked alongside Interpol to establish Lauren, Kaydance and Marcus travelled on to France on passports issued in the UK and none have been seen since May last year.
But now police believe Marco van de Merwe could be in the Netherlands.
A statement on Saanich Police website said: "On June 8, 2016 a Canada Wide Warrant was issued for the arrest of Lauren Ann Etchells.
"Etchells is wanted for abducting her daughter, Kaydance Paige Etchells, who is 3 years old today. Saanich Police Detectives have continued to work closely with our partner agencies in an attempt to locate Kaydance and bring her home safely.
"A person of interest in the investigation, Marco van der Merwe, is now believed to be in the Netherlands. Detectives are attempting to locate him in hopes that he can provide valuable information about the whereabouts of Kaydance and Lauren.
"We are again asking for anyone who may have any information to come forward and help."
Tasha Brown, Kaydance’s mum, still has an active Facebook page dedicated to helping find Kaydance www.facebook.com/whereintheworldisKaydance.
Anyone with information that may assist in Kaydance’s return is asked to contact Saanich Police Information Line 1(888)980-1919, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection 1(866)-543-8477 or Crimestoppers 1(800)222-TIPS(8477).