Police involved in the hunt for a missing Northumberland grandmother will today start searching a river.
Janis Hall disappeared from her home in Catton, near Hexham, on December 19 and was last spoken to by a relative on the phone at around 3pm in the afternoon.
The 65-year-old has now been missing for more than two weeks and search teams, who have already scoured the local area where she sometimes likes to walk, were today due to turn their attention to the nearby river.
Northumbria Police’s Marine Unit will start using boats to search a section of the River East Allen, which runs near the village.
Supt Gillian Mitchell said: “As part of police inquiries to find Janis Hall, who has been missing from her home in Catton, near Hexham, officers will be carrying out searches around the river area in Catton.”
Since Mrs Hall disappeared, her distraught children Ian and Gillian made an emotional plea for the 65-year-old to come home for Christmas. But Mrs Hall has now not been seen or heard from for more than two weeks and police are extremely concerned.
During the last fortnight, specialist officers and the volunteer search and rescue team, as well as residents in Catton, have carried out extensive searches around the village and surrounding areas of Tynedale.
It is thought the grandmother had been struggling to come to terms with the loss of her husband, who died six months ago, but to go missing is extremely out of character.
Supt Mitchell said: “Understandably her family are distraught that she has not been home for Christmas or New Year.
“They are beside themselves with worry and desperate to hear news of her whereabouts.
“Our inquiries are continuing and we’d urge anyone who may have seen Mrs Hall over the festive period, or may have information they feel may help us to locate her, to get in contact with police as soon as possible.
“No matter how insignificant they think the information is, it could help us to build a picture of her movements, and prove to be crucial in our inquiries.
“Clearly the inclement weather conditions and the fact this is out of character for Mrs Hall lead us to be extremely concerned for her welfare.”
Mrs Hall is 5ft 4ins tall, of medium build, with grey short hair, and wearing glasses. She was possibly wearing a green fleece coat, black trousers and a black fur Russian-style hat.
She is also known to visit Allendale and Hexham.
In a statement released by her children Ian and Gillian before Christmas, they said: “We know she has been upset recently after our father died, six months ago, but this is out of character for her to go missing.
“We all expected her to return the next day, but the longer it goes on the more worried we become.
“She was due to come to Ian and Kate’s on Christmas Day, and they were going to her’s on Boxing Day.
“We can’t put into words how we feel at the moment, it’s the not knowing where she is or how she is and we are completely worried sick.”
Anyone with any information or may have seen Mrs Hall, call police on 101 ext 69191, quoting reference 1124 19/12/13.