The sister of missing Bedford woman Sonica Hans renewed her appeal for information this as expert dive teams made searches of the river, and police released CCTV footage of her last known movements.
Police are reviewing the search for the Sonica, aged 35 went she went missing from her home on Boxing Day 2012 and there has been no trace of her since.
She left the Priory Court flat she shares with her sister Manisha in the afternoon, saying she was going to the shops.
Speaking at the riverbank, between the Town Bridge and The Slipe as searches were being made, Manisha said: “We are very sad, especially today, and we keep hoping we don’t find anything in the river.
“I always feel that she is somewhere else and happy but we have had no contact at all.
“There is no reason why she could have left.
“If she’s out there I say to her ‘please contact us - come back, we are waiting for you.”
Sonica had been spotted on CCTV buying some vodka and food items at Tesco Metro, Midland Road earlier that morning (11.40am) and returned home; however late in the afternoon she left the home once more and never seen again.
Sonica hadn’t been missing before and her family have no idea where she is or why she has never made contact with anyone.
At the time, extensive searches along the river bank, other physical searches, police enquiries and financial enquiries drew a blank. Sonica’s mum, living in India, died in July 2013 and still there was
no contact from the missing woman.
Sonica’s 37th birthday came and went on August 1 and still with no new information about Sonica, detectives reviewed the case again, as is standard in missing persons enquiries.
Detective Chief Inspector Juliette Everett said the case was being renewed and reviewed and police search experts have suggested areas of the river where divers should look.
An area between Prebend Street bridge and The Slipe was being searched today, with the section towards the Town Bridge also being included.
Sonica’s last known movements around 1.30pm were leaving her home with a friend, telling Manisha that she was going to town and asked if she wanted anything bringing back. Manisha said she didn’t want anything and Sonica informed her that she would come straight back. Someone who matches Sonica’s description was caught on CCTV near The Swan Hotel at about 2pm.
“Sonica’s behaviour in just disappearing is totally out of character for her,” said Detective Chief
Inspector Juliette Everett, who is reviewing her case. “She was a reliable employee at McDonalds
and no-one has any concrete reason why she would disappear, or harm herself, or be harmed by someone else.
“Given the last potential sighting of her near The Swan, it’s possible that she may have fallen into the water but we have to keep an open mind. We’re re-visiting the case because things do change all
the time; new advances in technology, new information or some tiny detail we may have missed that
can be revealed with a fresh look at what we know.”
As part of the renewed work on the case, police have released the CCTV footage of Sonica at the shop and the woman at The Swan to see if there is anyone with information about Sonica who hasn’t yet come forward to the police.
Indian-born Sonica is about 5ft 3ins tall, with very long black hair which at the time of her disappearance was dyed dark brown. She was last seen in red trousers/leggings, black jumper and wearing a dark blue jacket.
“If you have information about Sonica, however small or insignificant you think it is, please call us,”
said Det Chief Inspector Everett. “Don’t leave it to someone else or assume it’s not important.
“It is possible that Sonica is perfectly well but decided to leave her life in Bedford behind, preferring not to tell people where she is. We can respect that decision and those details can be kept
confidential to the police. So if you know where she is, or Sonica herself sees our appeal, please just
phone us direct or drop into your nearest police station and let us know you’re OK,” said Det Chief
If you can help, contact the police on 24 hour non-emergency number 101, or text direct to the force
control room on 07786 200011.