Mum’s plea over missing son who ‘vanished off face of earth’

SEARCHING: Catherine Leach is searching for missing son Daniel.
SEARCHING: Catherine Leach is searching for missing son Daniel.
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THE desperate mother of a man who “vanished off the face of the earth” more than a month ago has pledged she will never give up on her crusade to find out what happened to him.

Daniel Smith, 25, was last seen on Friday, March 20, in Sunderland.

MISSING: Daniel Smith was last seen in Sunderland on March 20.

MISSING: Daniel Smith was last seen in Sunderland on March 20.

On that day he had been drinking at Yates bar in the city with a friend, before returning to his home in Villette Path, Hendon.

At 6.40pm he bought cigarettes at a local shop and his girlfriend received a picture text from him, taken near the Little Italy restaurant, on Seaburn seafront, at 8pm.

It’s not known whether Daniel was at Seaburn at the time, but he did make one final call to his girlfriend at 8.40pm that night.

She did not answer and he left no message.

We can’t grieve because we don’t know whether he is dead or alive. How can this happen and nobody see him?

Catherine Leach

In the weeks since there have been no sightings of the Port of Tyne contract cleaner.

Every day since has been agony for Daniel’s distraught mother Catherine Leach, 45, as she awaits news of her much-loved son.

Miss Leach’s gut instinct is that her son, a former Whitburn Comprehensive School pupil, is dead.

However, it is not knowing his fate that has led her to carry out her own search for him, distributing posters calling for information and stopping passers-by in Seaburn for help.

SO MANY IFS AND BUTS: Catherine Leach has been on medication since her son disappeared.

SO MANY IFS AND BUTS: Catherine Leach has been on medication since her son disappeared.

She said: “He has just disappeared. It’s as if the ground has just opened up and taken him. He’s vanished off the face of the earth.

“He’d just got a job at the Port of Tyne and he had just found out that his sister Kirsty was pregnant, so he was really excited about that.

“On the day he went missing his friend said he was fine, he was happy and there was no sign of problems whatsoever.

“He left his coat in the flat and it was really windy that night. He’s left his cash point card and all of the medication he took for back pain and he’d not taken any clothes.

UNABLE TO GRIEVE: But Catherine Leach thinks her son Daniel is dead.

UNABLE TO GRIEVE: But Catherine Leach thinks her son Daniel is dead.

“I am on Diazepam and I have not ate or slept. The whole family is in total limbo.

“We can’t grieve because we don’t know whether he is dead or alive. How can this happen and nobody see him?

“I’ve walked around Seaburn umpteen times. I’ve put posters in all the shop windows and stopped a lot of people.”

Catherine, of Livingston Place, South Shields, added: “There are so many what ifs?

“The only thing that puts him in Seaburn is the picture he sent, but we don’t know if that was taken that day. He could have had that on his phone for weeks.

“Danny is a bouncy, loving son. I would speak to him between four and 10 times a day and I know he wouldn’t do this to me.

“I miss him so much. When I was ill he would come here and do my shopping.

“How can a 25-year-old lad just vanish? Where can he be?

“I think he’s dead, I really do. I know that he wouldn’t put me through this.

“He’s not accessed any money, he hasn’t used his mobile phone and he’s got no clothes.

“If they knocked on the door and said ‘your son is dead’, yes the family would fall apart, but we could grieve for him and bury him.

“He’s got so many friends who miss and love him.

“I’ll never give up. I’ve got to find him.”

Anyone with information about where Daniel may be, is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 1113 210315.