Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Missing student found safe and well

Zoya Anwar was spotted on Wednesday night by shopping centre security guards in Birmingham city centre

A missing teenager has been found by security staff in Birmingham city centre, a day after five people were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping her.

West Midlands Police said 18 year-old Zoya Anwar from Walsall will be spoken to by specially trained officers but appears to be "safe and well".

She was spotted on Wednesday night by shopping centre security guards who had seen a police appeal for help which attracted huge attention, including on social media sites Twitter and Facebook.

Miss Anwar, a sixth-former at the King Edward VI Handsworth School, was reported missing last Friday after last being seen outside her school three days earlier.

On Tuesday five people were arrested on suspicion of her kidnap, however officers investigating her disappearance decided to release the suspects following a number of sightings of the teenager in the Birmingham area.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: "Missing Walsall teenager Zoya Anwar has been found in Birmingham city centre. Zoya has been taken to Birmingham Central police station where specially trained officers will be speaking to her to shortly to make sure she is OK.

"Initial indications are that security staff at a shopping centre in the city spotted her, it is unclear at this stage whether that was on camera or in person, and those security guards have called police having seen the press appeal and police have attended and collected Zoya from that location. Indications are that she is safe and well."

He added that more details are expected later following a de-brief with Miss Anwar. West Midlands Police also thanked members of the public for spreading the word about the missing teenager, which lead to her discovery. The force tweeted: "It goes without saying that we thank everyone who helped the search for Zoya by sharing our appeal. You have yet again helped save the day."

In a statement, the headmistress of the King Edward VI Handsworth School, Elisabeth Wager, said: "Zoya joined the school in the sixth form with an exemplary school record. She has continued to achieve at a high academic standard and has a bright future ahead of her. She has firm friendships in the school and we are providing support as required to her friends and the wider school community."

The five people released without charge - four men and a woman aged between 27 and 48 - were from the Walsall area.

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