DETECTIVES, retired and serving, joined the family of Danielle Jones today at Essex Police’s Chelmsford Headquarters for a memorial to mark the 20th anniversary of her disappearance and murder.
Those gathered, including those who worked on the original investigation two decades ago, laid flowers and observed a minute’s silence to remember the tragic schoolgirl.
Danielle, 15 was last seen on Monday 18 June 2001, as she left the family home in East Tilbury to go to school. She was never seen again.
In the wake of her disappearance, Essex Police undertook one of the largest searches in the force’s history to find the teenager. But, sadly, it later became clear she had been murdered, and the hunt became a search for her body.
To date, despite years of following up every lead given to us, Danielle’s body has never been found.
Thanks to the excellent and tireless work of detectives at the time, Danielle’s uncle Stuart Campbell was convicted of her murder in 2002 and jailed for life. Sadly, he has never disclosed where he put Danielle’s body and to this day her parents, Linda and Tony, have been unable to bury their daughter.
Today, Friday 18 June, several detectives, many of whom have been involved in the case over the years, Chief Constable BJ Harrington and Danielle’s mum Linda and brother Mitchell, gathered at our Chelmsford Headquarters for a minute’s silence to remember the teenager.
Those gathered included: Chief Constable BJ Harrington; Head of Major and Economic Crime Det Supt Lucy Morris;
DCI Stuart Truss who is the current SIO and continues to liaise with the family; the current and two former family liaison officers; a former Senior Investigating Officer who worked on the case; and the original interviewing officer.
DCI Truss said: “Victims are at the heart of everything we do at Essex Police. Over the years we meet many families in their darkest hours who have lost loved ones in the most unimaginable way and, even when we have secured a conviction, those families and those cases never leave us.
“Danielle has never left the thoughts of all of us over the years who have had involvement with her case and her lovely parents, Linda and Tony, who have maintained strength and dignity throughout. To lose a child is beyond words, but to never be able to bury them and say goodbye is incomprehensible.
“Danielle’s memory will never be forgotten by all of us at Essex Police – both past and present- who have been touched by her case. I know I speak for all of us when I say that today we remain as committed as we were 20 years ago, to following up every line of inquiry and every new bit of information in the hope of finding Danielle and finally returning her home to her parents.”
Linda Jones, speaking at today’s memorial event, said: “We have always been grateful to Essex Police for their tireless work in securing justice for Danielle.
“We know all of those at Essex Police, past and present, share our wish to find Danielle and bring her home.
“We are touched that the men and women of Essex Police keep Danielle close to their hearts and it is that care and compassion that gives us confidence that, if there was any new information about where she is, they will act on it.
“Over the years we have repeatedly appealed for information that could help us find Danielle. But in truth only one person holds that information and now, 20 years on, I hope he will finally do the right thing and allow us to lay our darling daughter to rest.”
Anyone with information can call Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.