Tears as parents speak of kidnap fear for architect

The devastated parents of a missing architect broke down in tears yesterday as they admitted they feared she had been abducted.

David and Theresa Yeates sobbed as they acknowledged that 25-year-old Joanna – missing since last Friday – could be being held against her will and begged for her to be returned safe and well.

Mr Yeates, 63, said: "I think she was abducted after getting home to her flat. I have no idea of the circumstances of the abduction because of what was left behind.

"I feel sure she would not have gone out by herself, leaving all these things behind, and she was taken away somewhere."

He added: "It's cold and I'm thinking that if she's out there by herself somewhere, frozen, it breaks me up. I long to hold her.

"I've got to believe she's alive. She had so much life in her. If it turns out she isn't alive, I still want her back and want to hold her whatever state she's in."

Miss Yeates has not been seen or heard from since Friday following a night out with work colleagues in Bristol.

Her boyfriend, Greg Reardon, 27, reported her missing on Sunday night after returning home to their flat in Canynge Road, Clifton, from a weekend away in Sheffield visiting family.

Detectives are investigating the possibility that Miss Yeates was abducted and said it was one of several lines of inquiry.

Miss Yeates was last seen leaving the Ram pub in Park Street at about 8pm, walking up the street.

She went into a Waitrose on the way – where the last CCTV image of her was taken – rang her best friend to arrange to meet on Christmas Eve and then went to a Tesco Express a quarter of a mile from her flat at about 8.40pm.

A receipt from Tesco was found in her flat, along with the cream-coloured coat she had been wearing, and her mobile phone and keys.

Mrs Yeates, 58, said her daughter, known as Jo to her friends, had recently moved into a flat with her boyfriend and had been looking forward to a party they were holding for friends on Tuesday.

Sobbing and clutching her husband, Mrs Yeates said: "I miss being able to hold her and cuddle her and tell her everything's all right.

"I just want her back. My little Jo – come back. Whoever has got her, don't keep her. Give her back to us. Nobody can feel the pain we feel."

Mr Yeates said he believed his daughter was abducted because she had no reason to take her own life or suddenly disappear.

He said: "Her graduation was a couple of weeks ago. Her and Greg were totally in love and devoted to each other. She had all the space she wanted and no work worries and no money worries.

"If she chose to go away she would have taken some of her things with her, like her purse and her phone. I never thought for a second she would leave on her own volition.

"Greg has been away before and come back and every time she has been there. It's not the first time he has been away for the weekend."

Mrs Yeates said the thought of her daughter being found dead made her feel numb.

She said: "I sometimes picture her, if for some reason she collapsed or had been discovered, with all the snow and cold. I just can't bear the thought of it. I don't cope with it."

Mr and Mrs Yeates said their daughter and Mr Reardon had been due to visit their home in Ampfield, Hampshire, for Christmas today. But they said Christmas would be "postponed" unless she was found.

Mr Yeates said: "Christmas is postponed as far as we are concerned. Everything is on hold and we can't celebrate anything."

Mr Reardon, who had left for Sheffield before Miss Yeates returned from the pub, said yesterday: "I desperately want her back – I thought we would be together forever."

Police investigating the disappearance are examining CCTV footage and have also taken a phone and laptop computer from Mr Reardon.

Specialist officers have been searching the couple's flat.

Claudia's father offers sympathy

THE father of missing York University chef Claudia Lawrence has offered his "thoughts and prayers" to the family of Joanna Yeates.

Peter Lawrence, 64, a solicitor from Slingsby in North Yorkshire, spoke yesterday of his empathy for them.

He said: "I was very distressed to hear of the disappearance of Jo Yeates and my thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. I have some idea of what they are going through – it's the not knowing what has happened to Jo that is the most emotionally draining and worrying experience, and particularly hard to deal with at Christmas."

Miss Lawrence was last seen walking near her home in York on March 18 last year.