Missing Owen Harding: Mum's 'excruciating uncertainty'

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image copyrightFamily handout
image captionOwen Harding last told his mother he was going to watch the sunset on the cliffs at Saltdean

The mother of a teenager missing from home for three weeks has spoken of the "excruciating uncertainty" of not knowing what has happened to him.

Owen Harding, 16, left his family home in Saltdean, East Sussex, on 26 March.

His mother, Stella Harding, said he last told her he was going to watch the sunset on the cliffs at Saltdean.

She said friends and the local community had been out searching for Owen during lockdown while keeping within social distancing guidelines.

"People pass by and give me meals, people pass by and give me chocolates, people talk to me over the hedge with their words of support, so people have just been wonderful," she said.

image copyrightSussex Police
image captionPolice have searched nearby cliffs and urged drivers to check dashcam footage

There was a suggestion from his family that Owen may have tried to walk 280 miles to see his girlfriend Meg in Pocklington, near York.

Meg, 16, has since posted a video on social media appealing for people to help find him.

Ms Harding said: "My emotional state has deteriorated over the last few weeks, as has Meg's, as has our close friends and family. while we're just stuck in this excruciating uncertainty of not knowing what has happened to Owen."

Sussex Police have previously released CCTV images of a person believed to be the teenager walking away from his home at 18:15 GMT on the day he disappeared.

A man in a hooded top who was also filmed has contacted police, but officers are keen to speak to another person in the CCTV footage.

image copyrightSussex Police
image captionOwen Harding seen on CCTV images in Saltdean on the day of his disappearance

Officers said that person may have been out for a run or other sports activity.

Owen is white, 6ft tall, of athletic build, with short brown hair.

He was wearing a black or dark hooded top, grey tracksuit trousers and white trainers.

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