Delightful moment missing British girl, 13, is reunited with mother
Reunited! Delightful moment missing British girl, 13, hugs her mother three weeks after she disappeared in Trinidad on a trip to the shops
- Delika White Lezama disappeared while in Trinidad to visit her grandmother
- She was last seen on a back road after going to a corner shop on December 17
- Her family had feared the worst as 20 days had passed since her disappearance
- Joyous scenes saw an emotional reunion with her mother after being found
- A police investigation into her disappearance is still ongoing, officials say
A 13-year-old British girl who went missing in Trinidad while on a trip to the corner shop has been found safe and well almost three weeks later.
Delika White Lezama, of Greenford, London, disappeared while on a visit with her mother and brother to the Caribbean on December 17.
Desperate relatives unsuccessfully searched for days and tried to contact her by phone, leaving them fearing for her safety.
In joyous photos published by a local search and rescue crew, who managed to track her down, Delika can be seen hugging her emotional mother Delia White and grandmother.
Delika White Lezama, of Greenford, London, is reunited with her mother on Friday, December 6
Delika went missing while on a visit to Trinidad to visit her grandmother with her mother and younger brother
The teenager had been last seen on a back road after going to a corner shop to buy a SIM card for her phone, near her grandmother’s house in Sangre Grande town at around 4pm.
A police investigation into her disappearance remains ongoing.
Speaking from the Southern Caribbean island Captain Vallence Rambharat, who was leading the search for Hunters Search and Rescue Team, said: “Delika White Lezama has been safely located at 5.15pm this evening.
‘After weeks of hard work by her family, the anti-Kidnapping unit of the Trinidad police, the Sangre Grande police officers, and the Hunters Search and Rescue team, it has paid off. She has been found. The matter is still receiving the attention of the TTPS [Trinidad and Tobago Police Service].’
Relative Melonie Brown shared her relief that Delika had been found to her friends and family online: ‘FOUND and home safe. God is good I appreciate all support and spread of awareness. We as a family are truly grateful.’
According to The Mirror, Delika’s family desperately began searching for her after realising she had not come home ten minutes later, but were unable to locate her.
Police officers from the local force’s anti-kidnapping unit joined the search whose family has been receiving support from the UK foreign office.
A local search and rescue group, Hunter Search and Rescue Team, confirmed late on Friday that Delika had been found and reunited with her family.
The happy scenes took place at 5.15pm local time – 9.15pm UK time – 20 days after she first vanished.
They had shared a renewed appeal just hours before finding the teen, asking for the public’s help and saying they had been searching for her ‘non-stop’.
Photos posted by the team showed the moment that her mother saw her again at Delika’s grandmother’s house.
Hunters Search and Rescue Team said: ‘Weeks of hard work by her family, the Anti Kidnapping Unit, the Sangre Grande Police and Hunters Search and Rescue Team has just paid off.’
They added further updates will come as more information becomes available.
Delika (right), pictured with members of the search and rescue team that found her
Delika (right) walked to the local corner shop before vanishing while visiting her grandmother
Delika’s mother (left) had been particularly concerned for her daughter because she did not know the area or speak the local language
Delika was found at around 5.15pm local time on Friday evening before being reunited with her family
Since the teenager’s disappearance, the family have sent several messages addressed to Delika’s phone which have been delivered but not read
The teenager was last seen on a back road after going to a corner shop near her grandmother’s house in Sangre Grande town, pictured, at around 4pm on December 17
Delika’s family had made repeated appeals to find her on social media, saying they are ‘beyond desperate’.
Delika’s aunt, Melanie Moore, told The Mirror she hoped Delika had ‘run away’ adding: ‘Otherwise it’s not going to be good.’
Ms Moore said Delika’s mother, Delia White, is ‘looking everywhere she can’, and is deeply upset.
She added: ‘I’m just praying for her safe return. A lot of time has passed in between, which is not a great thing for anybody.
‘At this point I’m hoping that she’s run away and will come back before her plane ticket runs out. That’s the best case scenario. Otherwise it’s not going to be good.’
Ms Moore said she and other relatives had repeatedly sent messages and tried to call Delika’s phone, but despite being delivered it appears she has not read any of them.
Her aunt began messaging her at midnight after she disappeared.
She added Delika’s mother is ‘very protective over her children’, especially when on holiday, saying: ‘It’s not like she goes out and does many things on her own.’
Delika’s mother, Delia White, told the paper: ‘She didn’t seem upset or angry when she left – there was nothing that would have made her run away.
‘I can’t think of anyone who could abduct her in particular, but everyone knows us, the whole community knows us, and that I come and go from the UK to see my mum all the time.
‘My seven-year-old son is here as well, and I’m just trying to stay strong for him. At the moment I don’t have the energy even just to say how I’m feeling.’
Ms White said the family began a manic search when her daughter failed to return home.
She said that CCTV cameras in the area were not working, making it harder to locate her daughter.
After darkness fell, Ms White said: ‘I started to get worried as she doesn’t know the area, she doesn’t really speak the language, so I’m thinking anyone could have seen her or any driver could have picked her up.
‘I don’t know if she went somewhere and got lost.’
Delika was last seen wearing a pink top and black skirt, and had recently removed her braids
The teenager’s mother said the family began a manic search when her daughter failed to return home
Delika is a British national from Greenford, London, and was visiting Trinidad with her mother and brother to see her grandmother
Ms White added that when it got dark she went to the police station to make a report, before driving around and looking for her all through the night.
She explained that her daughter had visited the corner shop to buy a SIM card because she was having trouble with her phone during the holiday.
The shopkeeper confirmed she had attended the store but she was unable to find the card she needed and left.
Since the teenager’s disappearance, police have been tracking down any CCTV footage, and have reportedly searched nearby houses, as well as rivers and bushes, for evidence of what happened to her.
The case is being investigated by the area’s anti-kidnapping unit.
Vallence Rambharat, Captain of Hunters Search and Rescue Team, said: ‘We can confirm that Delika White Lezama is still missing.
‘We can also confirm that investigations are continuing by the Anti Kidnapping Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.’
Delika’s older sister had taken to social media to share numerous pictures of her sibling via social media in a bid to help people recognise her.
She recently posted: ‘There are a few different looks she could have right now but we aren’t sure so if you see her or think you’ve seen her call the police. Please.
‘Been just over 2 weeks and she’s still missing. Has anyone seen or know of her whereabouts?
‘If you would like to remain anonymous that’s definitely an option. Family, friends and police will follow any and every lead at this moment in time.
‘Could someone, anyone just stand up with some sort of information please. We are beyond desperate to find her.’
Delika was wearing a pink top, black skirt, and pink and white Nike Air Force trainers at the time of her disappearance. She was also wearing glasses and had recently removed her braids.
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