Daily Mirror Group Reports April Fabb vanished 50 years ago, leading to one of the biggest missing person investigations ever carried out by Norfolk Police – but the case remains unsolved. Police have launched a new appeal to try and solve the mystery of schoolgirl April Fabb who vanished 50 years ago. The investigation into what happened to 13-year-old April is one of the biggest carried out by Norfolk Police – but it remains unsolved.
April went missing on April 8, 1969, after she cycled away from her home at Metton, Norfolk, heading to her sister’s house. She stopped to chat to a couple of friends at a farm next to a field where donkeys were grazing. A farm worker saw her just afterwards and her bike was spotted in a field by the side of the road just seven minutes later. It was just 20 minutes between when she left home and when she disappeared, having never arrived at her sister’s home.
Retired Detective Chief Inspector Andy Guy, who manages the cold case review team for Norfolk and Suffolk, said the case had never been closed and they still hoped to find out what happened to April. He said: “April was either abducted by someone from away who just happened to be in the area at the time, or it was close to home – somebody she knew. “If it was the latter case there may be people in Norfolk who suspect what happened and never came forward.”
Mr Guy said they were still open to anyone who could provide them with “credible information”. He said: “There may be somebody who every anniversary acts oddly. Who doesn’t want to have the TV on or want to discuss this particular event. “It may be something simple that raises concern amongst other people who live with them.” April’s disappearance led to “the biggest enquiry that we have had in Norfolk Police for the past 50 years”, and countless leads had been followed up. A red Mini and a grey van seen in the area had never been identified, but that seemed impossible now as they were no longer on the DVLA database. Someone had once claimed they had seen something being buried in a well, but this was excavated in 2010 and nothing was found.
Mr Guy said there was “no evidence” to back up a long-held theory that child killer Robert Black was responsible, as he was working in London then, did not have a drivers’ licence and nothing linked him to Norfolk. April’s two sisters and a number of cousins still live in the area around Roughton. Cousin Rosemary Fabb, who was 27 when April went missing, said now that April’s parents Olive and Albert had both died, the family simply wanted to move on.
Rosemary said: “As far as the family are concerned, the mum and dad have gone and we just want it to be left now. “Every time it’s brought up you live through it all again.” Rosemary said it was still hard to believe how April could have gone missing in such a short time. The cousin said: “She was a fairly well-built girl – I thought she would have put up a fight. There’s got to have been two people. “While somebody was putting the bike over the hedge, she could have run off, couldn’t she? “The terror she must have gone through is pretty awful.”
Rosemary said there seemed little hope of the truth of what happened on that day ever becoming known. She said: “‘Why was nothing found?’ is what I ask. Seven minutes was the gap between when she was last seen to when her bike was found. “She talked to her friends at the end of her road before she went up.” She added: “It is an absolute mystery isn’t it. If they find anything, that would be marvellous, but I can’t think that after all this time they will. “I don’t think anybody will ever know.”
Retired detective Maurice Morson took the case on in 1983 and has since written a book on it. He also keeps in touch with the family. Even though he’s been retired for 30 years now, he still receives tip offs. He told the BBC: “Whenever it comes to an anniversary, I get notes through the door with information “People draw me maps; they tell me where she is. They’ve had a dream, they know someone who knows someone, or have a theory they think we’ve not explored.” He said April would have turned 64 this month and could have been a grandma. Mr Morson added: “But the objective is to find the truth. Will we ever find it? I don’t know.”