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Mom Sues Police Over Daughter's Disappearance (Photos)

| by Michael Howard
Legal papers and judge's gavelLegal papers and judge's gavel

The mother of a missing UK teenager is planning to sue police for allegedly mismanaging the investigation.

Charlene Downes was 14 when she went missing on Nov. 1, 2003. Her body has never been discovered.

Charlene's mother, Karen Downes, said she is going to file a lawsuit against the Lancashire Police over the fact that surveillance footage showing her daughter on the day of her disappearance wasn't released until 2016 -- 13 years after it was recorded.

Karen says the footage could have helped to solve the crime if it had been released in a timely fashion.

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"They had [the video footage] for 13 years," she told the BBC. "It shows Charlene in the town that afternoon in the same clothes she disappeared in."

"If they'd have shown it before … who knows?" she continued. "We have suffered all these years not knowing where she is."

Karen emphasized that she is not motivated by monetary concerns.

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"It is not about the money. I want to force the police to do their job. If I got money I would get something for Charlene like a memorial."

The surveillance video, according to the BBC, depicts Charlene walking toward an amusement arcade in Blackpool with her sister, Rebecca. She returned home before heading back to the same area later that evening, and was never seen again.

Nobody has ever been convicted in connection with the disappearance.

A 2007 trial saw two fast food workers acquitted of Charlene's murder. The men were accused of chopping the teen into pieces and using her body parts for kebab meat. The evidence cited in the trial was later found to be flawed and the prosecution ultimately dropped the case after pushing for a retrial.

Karen said police have not kept her up to date on the status of the investigation.

"I have heard nothing," she told the Mirror. "I only found out about [the surveillance video] when a friend who lives miles away rang me. The police couldn’t even be bothered to pick up a phone and let me know. I have lost all faith in them. I never stop missing Charlene -- that is why I am taking the action."

She added that she still suffers immensely from her daughter's disappearance.

"I am absolutely disgusted. Every day is still a living hell. And instead of helping me, the police add to it as they never tell me anything and seem determined to keep me in the dark."

Lancashire Police declined to comment on Karen's legal action, according to the BBC.

Sources: BBC, Mirror / Photo credit: Brian Turner/Flickr, PA via Mirror, Simon Lennon via Mirror

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