Search continues for missing Barnstaple woman

Joseph Bulmer

Police appeal for public to check outbuildings as search for missing Barnstaple woman continues in Braunton

THE people of Braunton have been asked to check their outbuildings as police continue to search in and around the village for missing Barnstaple woman Tracey Topham.

The search for the 46-year-old, who suffers from Aspergers and depression, went up several gears after her car was found parked opposite the Elliott Gallery at Hill View in the village on Wednesday.

Search teams have been examining the higher ground in that area and this afternoon (Friday) were planning to extend their search to Braunton marshes.

Tracey has not been seen since November 1 and as well as the physical search police teams have been examining her computer plus telephone data in an attempt to find clues to her whereabouts.

Officers have been drafted in from Barnstaple and other areas to conduct the search, with assistance from Exmoor rescue group, Croyde Coastguards and the SAR helicopter from RMB Chivenor.

“We are now asking members of the public to check their own outbuildings, such as sheds, garages, barns and the like to see if Tracey has been there,” said Sergeant Paul Jones, who is leading the investigation.

“We just need to make sure people check their own buildings. We’re in the process of finishing the searches on the high ground of Braunton and are about to focus on Braunton Marsh, where there are a number of disused shelters, barns and the like.”

Tracey’s car was discovered in the Elliott Gallery car park on Wednesday afternoon following a call from a member of the public who saw the police appeal for the whereabouts of her vehicle in the Gazette.

Sgt Jones said she had in fact exhibited work at the gallery on occasion, under the name of Stacey James.

Her car had apparently been there for a number of days, he added.

Tracey is described a white female, five feet three inches tall, medium build with shoulder length fair hair. She was last seen wearing dark coloured clothing.

Anyone with information concerning Tracey or her whereabouts is asked to contact police on 08452 777444, quoting log number 297 of 05/11/10.