Woman who vanished from holiday park ‘not victim of crime’ police believe

Police searching a missing holiday camp worker were today scouring a creek close to the spot where she was last seen alive.

Coastguards were concentrating their efforts on the water near where zoology graduate Rosie Johnson was last sighted three days ago.

The police inspector leading the investigation today said he believes the 22-year-old was 'not the victim of crime' – but admitted he was 'seriously concerned' for her safety.

Inspector Andy MacDonald refused to be drawn on whether he believed Miss Johnson – from Glasgow, Scotland – was still alive following her disappearance on Sunday evening.

Miss Johnson, a field studies instructor at 50-acre Little Canada in Wootton on the Isle of Wight, was seen outside the site next to a neighbouring creek at 10.15pm on Sunday.

Staff at the site said police were called on Monday morning when Miss Johnson – niece of Scottish Labour MSP Daniel Johnson – did not check into work.

Police said an 'initial' search was carried out that day, however the Coastguard today said they were not asked to help until Tuesday afternoon. Today they searched the shores of Wootton Creek looking for clues to her whereabouts.

Inspector MacDonald revealed search and rescue specialists hoping to find Miss Johnson scoured the entire grounds of activities site Little Canada – including every children's cabin.

A friend of Miss Johnson's, Brendan Storer, issued a desperate plea to find her by telling his friends on social media 'please, please, please share' a police appeal and her MSP uncle, Mr Johnson, also encouraged people with information to help.

Inspector MacDonald, of Hampshire Constabulary, today said he will not reveal what Miss Johnson's state of mind was on Sunday evening and refused to say if he believes she is alive or not.

Speaking in Wootton today, he said Miss Johnson's family are being supported by Hampshire Constabulary but would not say who the last person to see her was.

He said: "At this moment in time the information we have available to us says Rosie has not been the victim of crime.

"I'm not in a position at this moment to tell you what her state of mind was on Sunday evening.

"We currently do not know her whereabouts and are seriously concerned for her welfare."

He added: "Rosie was last seen around the creek area, near to her place of work, Little Canada.

"The search operation has taken place predominantly in Wootton Creek.

"We have searched an extensive area with quite difficult terrain as there is forest and water – there's a real variety of challenges with the search operation.

"Each building [on Little Canada] has been searched. This includes the children's cabins, this did not cause any issues as we liaised with management trying to minimise the impact on the centre.

"Information we have suggests Rosie is still on the Isle of Wight currently.

"The search started on Monday and we undertook a more extensive search yesterday."

When asked if he believes Miss Johnson is still alive, Inspector MacDonald said he 'will not answer'.

Police officers, the Coastguard and Wight Search and Rescue could all be seen carrying out searches in Wootton today.

Activities continued as normal at Little Canada and children could be seen and heard taking part in educational exercises with PGL instructors.

A manager at Little Canada said he could not comment on the investigation but said he had been assisting police.

The creek runs parallel to the site and leads to the Solent.

Retired PA Maureen Hailstone, 70, lives next to Little Canada. She said: "It is all so desperately sad, I hope they find the poor girl soon.
"Police have been round to my house and looked in the garden and in the garage, it was a real shock.

"She is a lovely looking girl and it's just so dreadful, I can't imagine what her family are going through.

"I've lived here for 16 years, the instructors at Little Canada have always been very helpful and friendly. It's lovely to hear the kids enjoying themselves."

Company director Ross Jones, 43, who is a retired police officer and lives nearby, said the terrain of the area presents 'challenges' for search and rescuers.

He said: "I've taken part in similar operations and this area would present challenges given the landscape as it is woodland with water.
"There are all sorts of places where things can go unnoticed.

"It's all very sad to hear however these searches are drastic but necessary, you have to think of the worst case scenario."

A spokeswoman from PGL, which runs Little Canada, today said: "A member of staff working at our Little Canada site on the Isle of Wight did not report for work as planned on Monday morning.

"We were unable to establish their location and as a precaution informed the police who are now coordinating a search. We are providing any support we can to help with this."

Little Canada's website says it is 'set in over 48 acres of ancient woodland between the towns of Ryde and Newport on the Isle of Wight and is situated along the tidal waters of Wootton Creek'.

Field studies instructors earn between £12,230 and £17,100 depending on age and experience.

The website states field studies instructors 'work with a group of up to 12 children or teenagers, taking sole responsibility for their field studies sessions'.

It also says 'this role is particularly good for anyone looking to start their career in the outdoor industry, thinking about a career in teaching or for energetic teachers looking to maximise the practical aspects of their job'.

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