POLICE probing the disappearance of three children from their Sunderland foster family say their friends could hold the key to finding them.
Brothers Remus, 15, Janko, 12, and 10-year-old David Matloch have lived with foster parents at The Oaks, near the city centre, for the past 18 months. When they missed their 8pm curfew on Monday, their distraught foster parents searched for an hour for the boys, who had gone out for a bike ride at 5.20pm, before they alerted police. CCTV footage shows them riding through Mowbray Park before they were captured on camera at 5.24pm inside Park Lane Metro station without their bikes or helmets, which police have not found.
They were caught on CCTV at 6.04pm arriving at Newcastle Central Station, before walking towards the Centre For Life. Officers say they have no idea what happened to them next, but think they may have been travelling to the railway station to meet a friend or family member.
Superintendent Alan Veitch, who is leading the search for the boys, said: “We are looking for any local kids that know them, who may have been in communication with them on social media or Facebook, or who have had any contact with them at all in the days leading up to their disappearance.
“Anyone who has had a conversation with them in the last week or who may know what they were up to. The bikes haven’t been recovered. We know they had them going into the Metro station. Have they been stolen, have they handed them to someone, or have they made arrangements for the bikes to be looked after?
“It would be good to know that, as it means they are planning to come back.”
Supt Veitch is also appealing to rush-hour commuters who were at Park Lane on Monday night to come forward with anything they may have seen.
He added: “The station will have been quite busy with commuters, so I am appealing to anyone who has seen the boys or their bikes or anything they remember that can help.” The boys grew up in Blyth before they were placed with their Sunderland foster carers last year. They still attend schools in Bedlington, Northumberland.
They have three sisters who are in care in Northumberland.
They are said to have been doing well at school and had never before missed their curfew. It is not known whether their parents are aware of their disappearance.
Their mother is thought to be in Poland and their father in Romania. It is not believed the boys have passports with them. The brothers were looking forward to going on holiday to Haggerston Castle on Friday, police say.
It is thought they had £60 in cash and some water with them and one had a small backpack.
Northumberland County Council said it was supporting the police with their investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, ext 69191, quoting log number 1276 of 11/08/14.
Remus, 15, is 5ft 7in tall, slim, has dark coloured hair in a big quiff at the front and shaved at the back. He was last seen wearing joggers, baseball cap, T-shirt and a black cycling helmet.
Janko, 12, is 4ft 8in tall, has fairer hair styled in a quiff and short at the back, of medium build, and was last seen wearing smart mustard coloured chinos, converse-type trainers, blue lightweight waterproof jacket with a white zip and a silver cycling helmet.
David, 10, is 4ft 8in tall, has shaggy dark brown hair, is chubby, and was possibly wearing shorts, a top and a silver coloured cycling helmet.