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Family of missing Gorleston student Sophie Smith, 21, ‘overwhelmed’ at support as search goes on

PUBLISHED: 09:12 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:22 28 December 2017

Sophie Smith, who has gone missing from Gorleston. Photo: Norfolk Police

Sophie Smith, who has gone missing from Gorleston. Photo: Norfolk Police

Norfolk Police

The family of missing student Sophie Smith have said they have been “overwhelmed” by messages of support and love as the search for the 21-year-old entered into another day.

Three images of missing Sophie Smith, who left her home in Gorleston in the early hours of Boxing Day morning and has not been seen since. Photos: With permission of @sarah_janee_xo/Norfolk PoliceThree images of missing Sophie Smith, who left her home in Gorleston in the early hours of Boxing Day morning and has not been seen since. Photos: With permission of @sarah_janee_xo/Norfolk Police

The University of East Anglia biomedicine student, went missing from a house in Avondale Road, Gorleston in the middle of the night between Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

She was wearing just a dark vest top and light coloured shorts and did not have her mobile phone with her.

Family, friends and volunteers joined the emergency services yesterday to scour the seafront in the hope of finding her.

Her last known whereabouts was confirmed by CCTV images placing her near the house at about 3am in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

A Facebook group has also been set up called “Find Sophie Smith” and has attracted more than 6,000 members.

Her mother Lynn Shaw posted on Facebook last night: “Unfortunately we have no news to tell. We have been overwhelmed by the Facebook campaign and messages of help, love and support and thank each and everyone of u from the bottom of our hearts.”

Her stepsister Lauren Shaw said she had spent three hours looking for Sophie around Gorleston sea front last night and urged people to keep checking places, even if they had previously been investigated.

She said she intended to head to Britannia Pier in Yarmouth this morning to search more for her stepsister.

Sophie Smith, 21, who has been missing since Boxing Day morning from Gorleston. (Photo: With permission of @sarah_janee_xo)Sophie Smith, 21, who has been missing since Boxing Day morning from Gorleston. (Photo: With permission of @sarah_janee_xo)

Insp Will Drummond, who is leading the search efforts for Norfolk police, had said Sophie had “withdrawn” in the run up to her disappearance and they do not believe her disappearance to be suspicious.

He added: “I know that Sophie has been going through a rough time prior to going missing. I can’t really say anymore than that at the moment but it forms part of our enquiries.

“This is the first time she has gone missing which makes it very concerning for us and also the fact she doesn’t have a mobile phone with her so it would be very hard for her to reach out or for us to make contact with her.

“We are increasingly concerned about her due to her previous behaviour just before going, and the fact we think she left so unprepared for the weather with regards to clothing.

The poster for the missing 21-year-old, Sophie Smith in a shop window in Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe poster for the missing 21-year-old, Sophie Smith in a shop window in Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“It’s worrying because it’s the first time she’s gone missing, the weather is extremely cold outside and we know she doesn’t have any other clothes there.

“e have spoken to all her family and friends at this time and she has not made contact with them which makes us increasingly concerned for her.”

He added that dedicated officers are working with the family and any new information is going straight to them.

Sophie’s family and friends took to social media to share photos of her to help jog people’s memories in the efforts to find her and posts where shared thousands of times.

Avondale Road in Gorleston where 21-year-old, Sophie Smith's family live. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAvondale Road in Gorleston where 21-year-old, Sophie Smith's family live. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Missing posters have been put up in houses and businesses in the vicinity and police have been going door-to-door in their search efforts.

Police have appealed for any drivers in the area with dashcam footage or business or homes with CCTV to review the images and contact police if they find anything unusual.

Police have asked anyone who may have information about her whereabouts to contact them on 101.

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