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Distraught parents of Jo Yeates plead for help in finding their missing architect daughter





By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:48 PM on 23rd December 2010


  • Police search teams examine bins near 25-year-old's flat
  • 'I think she was abducted from her home' says father
  • Architect's boss is distressed by 'strange circumstances'
  • Detectives say pizza she bought before vanishing is vital clue

The devastated parents of missing architect Jo Yeates broke down in tears today as they admitted they feared their daughter had been murdered.

David and Theresa Yeates sobbed as they acknowledged the 25-year-old - missing since Friday - may have been abducted and killed.

Mr Yeates begged her potential kidnapper: 'If she's dead, please tell somebody where she is.'

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Tearful: David and Theresa Yeates appealed for information about the disappearance of their daughter Jo

Tearful: David and Theresa Yeates appealed for information about the disappearance of their daughter Jo

The 63-year-old added: 'I think she was abducted from her flat after getting home.

'We have got no idea of the circumstances of the abduction but because of what was left behind in the flat we feel she would not have gone out by herself leaving all those things.

'I don't know by whom. She's a sensible girl and professional lady. She wanted to spend the night in and all weekend.'

Her 58-year-old mother added: 'She was a sensible lady. She had a new flat with new things and she wanted it to be special.

Missing: Jo Yeates' parents appealed for help in finding her after her out-of-character disappearance

Missing: Jo Yeates' parents appealed for help in finding her after her out-of-character disappearance

'She wanted to finish her Christmas shopping and do some cooking and baking for Tuesday.'

Miss Yeates disappeared after going for drinks with colleagues on Friday night.

She apparently returned to her flat but was not reported missing until Sunday when her boyfriend Greg Reardon returned to the home they shared in Clifton, Bristol.

The appeal came as detectives said that when Miss Yeates entered a Tesco on her way home on Friday, she bought a pizza - and no trace of the food or its wrapping had been seen.

Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Bevan said she bought a Tesco Finest tomato, mozzarella and basil pesto pizza.

'I believe on the night in question Joanna got back to her flat and this would have been shortly after 8.30pm,' he said.

'We know from CCTV she went into Tesco's in Clifton Village at 8.30pm and when she was in Tesco she bought a pizza.

'I believe she went back to her flat and that is because we found within the flat her coat, her mobile phone and her keys but what we have not found is any evidence of this pizza or the box or the wrapping.

'I want to make an appeal, firstly to anyone who knows what's happened to Joanna or where she might be now.

'In particular, I want to appeal to anyone who knows where this pizza is now or where the box is or any information that might suggest where it is.'

Asked about Miss Yeates's family's belief that she had been abducted, Mr Bevan said: 'That's one of the things we are considering.'

Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue set up a base around the Clifton Downs area of Bristol where they are searching for Joanna Yeates

Mission: Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue set up a base around the Clifton Downs area of Bristol where they are searching for Joanna Yeates

Equipped: A search team scours the area around Clifton Downs

Equipped: A search team scours the area around Clifton Downs today

Miss Yeates's boss Keith Pavey, who recruited her and her boyfriend Greg Reardon to work at his architectural firm in Bristol, also appealed for the public's help.

'We are all very distressed about it and there are some very strange circumstances,' he told BBC Five Live.

'Everyone is very distressed and the office is very sombre.'

Mr Pavey said Mr Reardon was 'distraught' at his girlfriend's disappearance.
'He's distraught as you can imagine,' Mr Pavey, who is head of architecture at BDP, said.

'She's a very effervescent young lady and a gifted landscape architect.

'She's very professional in everything she does and she has a great career ahead of her and everything to look forward to.'

Last picture: CCTV footage of Joanna Yeates at a Waitrose supermarket in Clifton, Bristol, last Friday. A massive police hunt is underway following her disappearance

Last picture: CCTV footage of Joanna Yeates at a Waitrose supermarket in Clifton, Bristol, last Friday. A massive police hunt is underway following her disappearance

Mr Pavey added: 'I would just like to ask anybody who thinks they may know anything, however trivial it may be, to come forward and speak to the police.

We need all the help we can get to find Jo and get her back with us.'

Best friend Rebecca Scott, 25, was the last person to speak to Miss Yeates as the architect made her way home from the pub on Friday night.

In an appeal broadcast on the radio, Miss Scott said: 'I am making a desperate plea to the people of Bristol on behalf of everyone who knows my dear friend Joanna Yeates, more commonly known to us as Jo.

'We are all terribly worried about her, all of her friends, family and work colleagues have not seen or spoken to her since Friday evening.

'After leaving work on Friday, Jo headed to the Ram pub on Park Street and left the pub early and started to head home at around 8pm.

All smiles: The 25-year-old architect and her boyfriend Greg Reardon. Police are today combing the Bristol Downs in connection with their search for her

All smiles: The 25-year-old architect and her boyfriend Greg Reardon. Police are today combing the Bristol Downs in connection with their search for her

'On her way home Jo popped into her local Tesco Express and Waitrose in the Clifton area before she returned to her flat where all of her personal belongings appear to have been left.

'This is totally out of character for Jo and there is no rational explanation as to why she would have left her flat without any of her belongings, her keys, her phone, her wallet etc.

'She phoned me on her way home from the Ram pub at around 8pm on Friday and we arranged to meet at Christmas Eve as she was travelling down that day with her boyfriend to spend time with her parents.

'She was totally fine and very happy at the time.

'Therefore we are urging everyone to spread the word about Jo Yeates in the hope someone, somewhere has seen something.'

Search: Police examine a wheelie bin near the flat belonging to Jo Yeates, left, while DCI Gareth Bevan displays a pizza of the type bought by the architect when she was last seen

Mr Reardon fought back tears yesterday as he said: ‘I desperately want her back – I thought we would be together for ever.’

The 27-year-old told of his despair after returning to their flat on Sunday evening following a weekend away and finding her gone.

‘She was my future,’ he said. ‘This Christmas was going to be our first together. I was going to stay with her family, which is always a big deal for a boyfriend.’

Detectives say they are ‘baffled’ by the disappearance of blonde Miss Yeates, who was last seen in two supermarkets on Friday night after a Christmas drink with colleagues at a pub.

She then returned to the £200,000 rented flat in the affluent Bristol area of Clifton – where her coat, keys, purse and bank cards were found.

Huge effort: A shop worker in Clifton, Bristol puts up a missing poster

Huge effort: A shop worker in Clifton, Bristol puts up a missing poster

Mr Reardon, whose phone and computer have been taken by police, is also an architect in the same practice as his girlfriend.

Yesterday, the day after he sobbed at a press conference appealing for her safe return, he was staying with her parents at their home in Ampfield, Hampshire.

He said: ‘On Sunday night I came home at about 8pm after staying with my family in Sheffield, but Jo wasn’t home.

‘Over the weekend I had tried calling and texting her and didn’t have a reply, but Jo didn’t always reply so it wasn’t completely out of character.

Hunt: Police outside the ground floor flat in Clifton, Bristol, where Joanna Yeates and her boyfriend Gregory Reardon were living

Hunt: Police outside the ground floor flat in Clifton, Bristol, where Joanna Yeates and her boyfriend were living

Vanished: Forensic officers look for clues inside the flat

Vanished: Forensic officers look for clues inside the flat

‘Then when I arrived home it was obvious our cat had been left on his own and was going mad. I waited up for her until about midnight and then when she didn’t return I started to get really worried.

‘I went through her bag, which she had left on the table and found it had all the stuff she would need to take with her, things like her purse and her keys.

‘I called the police and reported her missing and also phoned her parents. Since then I haven’t slept much.

Happier times: Miss Yeates and Mr Reardon. He raised the alarm when he returned to their empty flat late on Sunday night after visiting family in Sheffield over the weekend

Happier times: Miss Yeates and Mr Reardon. He raised the alarm when he returned to their empty flat late on Sunday night after visiting family in Sheffield over the weekend

Miss Yeates: Disappearance was 'out of character', according to her family and the police

Mystery: Miss Yeates was last seen leaving a pub on Friday evening after Christmas drinks

‘I’m constantly on the internet trying to raise awareness on Facebook and some of her friends from Hampshire have even come up to Bristol to put up missing posters.’

He continued: ‘She was the first ever girlfriend I moved in with. Recently we moved in to a really nice flat together in probably the best area of Bristol.

‘It’s our second place together and things felt like they were really falling into place. We were both really happy in our jobs – we worked together and that’s how we met.

‘We’ve had our cat, Bernard, for about a year, since he was a kitten, and he means the world to us. Things were set for us.

‘We were going to stay with her parents for about a week over Christmas then head up to Scotland for Hogmanay.

‘She was really looking forward to Christmas. We had put up a tree and she was due to bake some mince pies.

‘We celebrated our second anniversary on December 11 and I took her out for dinner – it was perfect.’

Mr Reardon’s half-brother Francis, 33, who he is understood to have seen at his semi-detached house in Sheffield over the weekend, was yesterday reluctant to discuss the visit.

He said: ‘I’ve given the police a statement, they’ve got all the times and everything, so I don’t know if I should be saying anything.’

Detective Supt Mark Saunders, who is leading the inquiry into Miss Yeates’s disappearance, said yesterday that CCTV evidence showed her visiting Waitrose at 8.10pm on Friday.

A receipt found at the flat showed she had also been in a Tesco Express store at 8.40pm.

Mr Saunders said: ‘The last sighting we have of her is in Tesco. To the best of our knowledge, no one has heard from her from since then. It is completely baffling. It is very unusual.’

Privately-educated Miss Yeates’s home is a short stroll from the Clifton suspension bridge, a notorious suicide spot, but Mr Saunders said she had no mental health problems or any apparent reason to disappear.

At the flat, which has its own separate entrance, there were no signs of forced entry and nothing apparently missing. 

Miss Yeates’s mother Teresa, 58, a Waitrose cashier, said: ‘We just want her home. We just feel numb – the only thing we notice is when night turns into day.

‘The last time I saw Jo was a couple of weeks ago when I went up to Bristol to watch the filming of Deal Or No Deal.

‘I stayed with her and she seemed very happy. We are very close. If she ever had a problem she would tell me or her father.

‘We were looking forward to having her and Greg home for Christmas – and their presents are still sitting under the tree.’

Beauty spot: Police are today searching the Bristol Downs for Miss Yeates

Beauty spot: Police are today searching the Bristol Downs for Miss Yeates

Her husband David, 63, who works in IT, said: ‘Jo is one of those people who is full of life. She means the world to us.

‘We’ve been distraught ever since she went missing. Time has no meaning and we just want our girl back.

‘Her relationship with Greg was solid. While I don’t think they had discussed marriage, we all assumed they were to be together for ever. They were very loving.’

Mr Yeates went on: ‘She absolutely loved Christmas and would always make presents – she was very creative.

‘The last time I saw her was at her postgraduate course ceremony in November. I was overwhelmed when I got to see her in her hat and gown.

‘I tried to tell her how proud I was but the words got choked up.’

Praying: Parents David and Theresa Yeates, left, and boyfriend Greg Reardon are distraught following the disappearance of Jo Yeates

By NEIL SEARS and RYAN KISIEL

With a shared love of the outdoors, Jo Yeates and Greg Reardon hit it off instantly when they began working together at a firm of landscape architects.

She loved surfing, biking, rowing and snowboarding while he was an accomplished skier. Before long they were constantly in each other’s company and they moved in together last year.

In Mr Reardon’s words: ‘A big moment in our relationship was early on when the two of us went to the Isle of Wight music festival. It went so well that we knew it was something special.

Action girl: Daredevil Jo loved snowboarding and riding her motorbike

‘This summer we borrowed Jo’s mum’s campervan and went on a week-long tour of Cornwall and had an absolutely amazing holiday, surfing on the beaches together.’

When their firm, Hyland Edgar Driver, relocated from Winchester to Bristol, the couple moved with it. Miss Yeates this year completed a masters degree in garden design at the city’s university.

Born in Hampshire, she attended the private boarding school Embley Park in Romsey, which is set in 130 acres of park and woodland and was once the family home of Florence Nightingale. Fees are up to £7,000 a term.

She went on to college in nearby Winchester for A-levels in art, biology and geography. She then studied landscape design and horticulture at Writtle agricultural college in Chelmsford, Essex, before getting a job at HED.

Mr Reardon was raised in Derby by his parents John and Lydia, both 67, alongside his half-brother Francis, now 33, from his mother’s previous marriage. He attended Repton state primary school then John Port comprehensive before going on to the school of architecture at Manchester University, where he became captain of the ski and snowboard club.

Enjoying life: Joanna (far right) and Greg at a Halloween party

Enjoying life: Joanna (far right) and Greg at a Halloween party

After graduating in 2004, he qualified as an architect in 2007.

Friends yesterday described him as an ‘exceptionally good’ skier who had organised events for the British University Snowsports Council after graduating.

Following qualification he worked for three firms of architects, and reached the finals of a national building exercise competition as a part of a team.

An enthusiastic member of internet social networking sites, on which he is now appealing for help finding Miss Yeates, he has taken part in sponsored events including growing a moustache and going on runs in fancy dress to raise money for cancer charities.

Mr Reardon’s parents relocated to Ilfracombe in north Devon in 2004, but they are currently understood to be in Bristol assisting in the hunt for Miss Yeates.

A friend said: ‘Greg is a very nice person who is in absolute pieces about this. At the end of the day it’s just so shocking and we just want to find her.’

On Miss Yeates’s Facebook page is the proud announcement: ‘In a relationship with Greg Reardon’. A photograph of the pair embracing is displayed alongside.

And less than two months ago she posted a series of photographs of herself and Mr Reardon at a Halloween party.

He was dressed as the hero of the spoof horror film Shaun Of The Dead, while she was made up as a blood-smeared zombie emerging from a grave.

 

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