Missing girl, 13, travelled 180 miles from Barnsley to London party and 'is now in company of older man', as 3 arrested

28 June 2023, 19:32

Carmen Hepi has been missing since Saturday
Carmen Hepi has been missing since Saturday. Picture: Met Police

By Kit Heren

A missing teenage girl who travelled nearly 200 miles from south Yorkshire to south London is now "in the company of an older male", police said, as they issued a desperate plea for help finding her.

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Carmelle Hepi, 13, went from her home in Barnsley to Sheffield on Saturday before catching a train to Peckham in south-east London to go to a party with other teenagers.

She is thought to have left the party, which took place in Watling Street, at about 11pm, with another group of people.

She later visited properties in Croydon and Lewisham, also in south-east London, and Purfleet in Essex.

Officers hunting for Carmelle said on Wednesday that they didn't know where she was, but that she is thought to be with an older man.

Police said that they had arrested three other men in their 20s on suspicion of kidnap, who remain in custody.

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Officers said that they had no information suggesting that Carmelle had "come to serious harm", but that due to her age, vulnerabilities, and concerns around the people she may be with, specialist crime detectives are leading the investigation.

Police have released an image of Carmelle, believed to have been taken in a car in Peckham area on Sunday - the day after the party.

CCTV footage also shows her wearing a pink and white jacket going into a Primark on Croydon high street at 4.45pm on Sunday. She left at about 5.05pm.

In a direct message to Carmelle, detective chief inspector Chris Wood said: "Carmelle, I want you to know that you are not in any trouble whatsoever. Our one and only focus is making sure that you are safe and well.

Carmelle is just 13
Carmelle is just 13. Picture: Met Police

"Please call 999 and speak to us, or go to a police station, and we will get you back home safely.

"Your family are desperately worried about you and while we're supporting them as best we can, they need to know that you're okay and to come home."They cannot rest until you're back with them."

DCI Wood added that his officers were "working round the clock" to find Carmelle, working with South Yorkshire Police.

In a message to the public, the DCI said: "If you have seen Carmelle, or you know her and have information about where she is or has been, it is imperative that you contact us.

"It doesn't matter if you're a friend who has heard or seen something in passing - you won't be in trouble.

"What matters is that you contact us as you could have significant information to help us find a missing teenage girl."

Please call 101 or tweet @MetCC with any information 3258/25JUN23. For immediate sightings please call 999.