Missing daughter takes the gloss off festivities
CHARMLESS: Vicki Ferguson, youngest daughter Unity (12) and pooch Safari wait for 15-year-old Charm’s return to the family. 012071AD
By Dean Taylor
Twelve-year-old Unity Ferguson, and her mum Vicki, wanted just one thing for Christmas - to see 15-yearold Charm home, safe and well.
Mrs Ferguson reported her daughter missing on December 2, and apart from a letter on December 20 to say she was okay, hasn’t heard from or seen her daughter since.
The family moved to Kihikihi about four months ago - a move back home for Mrs Ferguson and hopefully a chance for a new start for her girls.
She says Charm is a good girl, but too easily led and so hadn’t been doing her best at school - even though she was basically bright. Charm has run off before, but usually just overnight and never more than three or four days.
“We generally have a good relationship, and she and Unity are great mates,” she says.
Now with her more than a month away from home and her mother is worried.
“I’ve been putting on a brave face for Unity, trying to make the best of Christmas and the summer holidays,” she says. “Christmas should be a time for families. It’s no fun with Charm missing.”
Mrs Ferguson believes the latest saga began when Charm befriended a local girl, then her older brother who lives out of the village. On the morning she left, Mrs Ferguson went to do some early morning grocery shopping and left the girls at home. Charm stole some money from her mother and left.
Mrs Ferguson believes Charm and her friends arranged a pick-up by texting and as soon as the coast was clear she left. She was seen around the village during the day, but was not found. Mrs Ferguson says the other girl involved returned to her home, but believes the older brother and Charm are still together, somewhere in the Pukekohe region.
Her initial information led to think the boy was in his early 20’s, but now she thinks he is even older, maybe twice Charm’s age - and she is concerned about her daughter’s wellbeing, her health and her innocence.
“Charm will have run out of money and didn’t even take many clothes,” she says. “Someone knows what has happened to my daughter, but no-one will say.”
Mrs Ferguson says the other family isn’t letting on where their son is and Police aren’t making them. She says the only contact with police since she reported Charm missing is when she rings them, including officers near where she believes her daughter has gone.
Mrs Ferguson knows Charm has run away before, but says the attitude of police - who have said we deal with teenagers like this often - isn’t very comforting.
“Every case is different,” she says. “Charm is a good girl from a good home who just sometimes reacts badly when she can’t handle the boundaries. Police at Waiuku had a lead to follow up before Christmas and still haven’t done it,” she says.
Making matters worse is the Fergusons planned to shift to be with other family in Australia. Mrs Ferguson says they were all looking forward to a complete new life, and new opportunities. Now those plans are on hold. Meanwhile Mrs Ferguson puts on a brave face, even though she is scared for her daughter, and hopes for the best.
Te Awamutu’s acting senior sergeant Gael Mockford says police are concerned about Charm’s whereabouts and wellbeing. She says the file has been sent to police in the Pukekohe region where Charm is believed to be and officers there will do their best to locate the missing girl.
However, Ms Mockford says it is a fact that police have to prioritise their workloads, and in this instance they do not hold any fears for Charm’s safety. Ms Mockford says police have followed every avenue of enquiry available here and have established the male Charm left Kihikihi with is aged 24, but she may not necessarily still be with that person.
She says Charm’s letter of December 20 did say the girl was okay and safe, but also that she did not want to be found.
"We are not happy and would like to find Charm to clarify the situation,” she says. “But even then we may not be able to achieve the outcome Mrs Ferguson wants if Charm is determined not to go home.”
Any information that could help trace Charm would be welcome. Contact Te Awamutu Police on 872 0100.