Whilst 86 per cent of people reported missing usually return home within the first 48 hours, some families are left spending years or even decades wondering what happened to their loved ones. Such is the case for the family of Annette Francis-Chridi, who was last spotted in 2008 and has never been seen since.
A mum-of-two and grandma-of-three, Annette’s disappearance was described as “out of character”, but despite numerous public appeals, her fate remains unknown. The charity Missing People compiles a list of names and faces of those who are currently missing within the UK, with Annette’s profile featuring an emotional plea from her family.
The charity’s purpose is to reunite families with their loved ones and provide support for those who have been affected by someone going missing. They also campaign for publicity, as hundreds of missing cases are believed to go unreported whilst families despair for news.
The 55-year-old mysteriously disappeared after enjoying a few busy days of socialising with her family over the Christmas holidays, and had recently spent time on holidays in Spain. The beloved grandma had also been due to move into a new property in New Malden with her husband, when she vanished without a trace.
READ MORE: Tributes paid to ‘full of life’ woman, 41, who died after being hit by car in Chelsea while walking her dogs
She was last seen by her husband Fehri Chridi at 10am on December 28 at a property on Vernon Avenue in Raynes Park, and was wearing grey jogging bottoms and a fleece jacket. When he returned from running errands two hours later, she had disappeared, taking only her handbag with her. Her mobile phone, clothes and toiletries were all left behind.
Immediately, her family feared the worst, telling the press at the time that it was out of character for her to run away and to leave all her belongings at home. Her daughter Sacha Francis said that her mum had been “quieter than usual” over the Christmas period, but that she would never intentionally bring this stress upon her family.
Over the previous year, Annette had been struggling to deal with an illness of a close family member. Sacha said at the time: “She was maybe a little bit depressed after everything that has happened this year but there have been other times that have been worse than this. I don’t believe it’s intentional because I don’t think she would bring this stress on her family. She has just vanished into thin air.”
Since the news of her disappearance, there have been reported sightings of Annette, with people believing to have spotted her in various locations across London or on the Underground. However, none of these leads resulted in finding Annette, and her family remain in the dark as to her whereabouts.
In 2010, it was announced that her family would be turning to television in a bid to find Annette, with her story featured in the series Lorraine Kelly’s Missing Mums. The series told the stories of dozens of women who had gone missing across the UK without an explanation.
Of the decision to welcome TV crews into their lives, Sacha told the Sutton and Croydon Guardian that her family had faced a difficult decision in publicising the disappearance and trying to move on. She told them: “We are not shutting doors or forgetting, but what more can you do?”
Following a new appeal made by Missing People, Annette’s picture also featured on the side of milk cartons sold in local branches of Iceland. Despite this, the police and the charity failed to gather enough leads to determine what had happened on that fateful day she walked out the South London house in 2008.
Her profile on Missing People remains, with a message urging anyone who has any knowledge of her whereabouts to get into contact. A message reads: “Annette we are here for you whenever you are ready; we can listen, talk you through what help you need, pass a message for you and help you to be safe. Call. Text. Free. Confidential. 116000.”
Do you have a court case you think we should be covering? Email [email protected]
Do you want to stay up to date with the latest news, views, features and opinion from across the city?
MyLondon’s brilliant newsletter The 12 is absolutely jam packed with all the latest to keep you keep you entertained, informed and uplifted.
You’ll get 12 stories straight to your inbox at around 12pm. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.
And what’s more – it’s FREE!
The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our journalists cover all the news you need – from City Hall to your local streets, so you’ll never miss a moment.
Don’t skip a beat and sign up to The 12 newsletter here.