TIMID Shannon Matthews may have fallen into the “wrong hands”, police have revealed.
One week on after the schoolgirl went missing, a detective leading the hunt has told of his fears for Shannon.
Det Supt Andy Brennan said the investigation was following a similar structure to that of a murder hunt and that police were ruling nothing out in the search for Shannon.
He also said that they were looking at people “of interest” both locally and nationally as part of the investigation.
Det Supt Brennan said: “What concerns me greatly at this point is that Shannon is a vulnerable nine-year-old girl who may have fallen into the wrong hands.
“While we hope and pray that Shannon will be found safe and well, we remain gravely concerned.
“We only have one chance to get this right and find Shannon.”
Specialist search dogs trained to sniff out human remains have been used in the hunt so far as police continue to conduct extensive door-to-door searches of 2,000 houses.
Det Supt Brennan added: “Specialists dogs have been used from day one and they have been used in house searches for a number of days.
“We are not excluding any possibility as to what happened to Shannon that afternoon.
“The investigation now has a number of major strands of work.
“We are working with Shannon’s close family, friends and school.
“We know that Shannon had said to a number of friends that she didn’t want to go home.
“We can’t be certain that she did want to go home.”
Hundreds of police were stopping motorists in the Dewsbury Moor area all afternoon in the hope of finding clues to Shannon’s whereabouts.
Police told them that any piece of information, big or small, is relevant to their enquiry.
“I would appeal to anybody who was in the area last Tuesday to think back to that time and assist me with the following questions,” Det Supt Brennan added.
“Did you see anybody in the area who may have looked out of place or you may have not seen previously?
“Similarly, did you see any vehicles in the area that you haven’t seen previously or looked out of place?
“Additionally, can you think back to last Tuesday and the days that followed?
“Do you have a family member, partner, close associate or neighbour who appears to have been behaving out of character or you now think was unusual?”
“It is very rare one week on for someone to still be missing and that is why, going back to day one, we have been very concerned about what happened to Shannon.”