Shannon Matthews is only 9 years old when she failed to return home from swimming trip on February 19. Her disappearance didn’t hit the news as big as Madeline McCann. Missing Madeline gets full coverages from media and attracts celebrities ‘ attention (on her 100th day missing, both Sunderland and Tottehnham Hotspur teams walked on to the pitch in white T-shirts bearing Madeleine’s photograph and the words “Don’t You Forget About Me”, and the energetic campaign mounted by the McCanns to find their daughter has raised millions in donations and reward money and involved celebrities like David Beckham and Richard Branson). But the news of Shannon’s disappearance could be found somewhere on the tiny corner of the newspapers. No celebrity jumped to help. No football team players wear the picture of Shannon’s. The media was accused to pay a greater attention to Madeline’s case because she was beautiful, her parents are glamorous (mother is GP and father is cardiologist), and she was snatched from family holiday in Portugal. Shannon, on the other hand, is a daughter of Karen Matthews, who is a mother of seven children from several different men, and has been living with Craig Meehan, Shannon’s stepfather, who is 22 years old, for five years. Karen doesn’t look as posh as Madeline’s mother – blonde, skinny, beautiful – and Craig hides behind a baggy jumper and thick glasses, nothing like Madeline’s father – smart looking, serious, fit and tanned after holiday in Portugal.
Luckily, 24 days later Shannon was found hidden in the base of a divan bed in her stepfather’s uncle’s dingy apartment. He was later charged with Shannon’s kidnap and false imprisonment and is remanded in custody awaiting trial in November.
Everybody was happy.
Until suddenly the case turns into a Hollywood’s day soap opera.
While Shannon is remain in a police custody, and the media has been trying to dig out some more stories about her abduction, Shannon’s stepfather was arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children in April 2. Then his mother and his sister were both arrested in connection with the alleged abduction. Now Shannon’s own mother, is charged with neglecting and abandoning Shannon, and is accused of concealing information about Shannon’s whereabouts. Karen allegedly knew exactly where Shannon was the whole time when the entire neighborhood, hundreds of officers and 60 detectives were turning every rock to find her. It’s Britain’s biggest ever hunt for a missing person that costs £5million (that’s about Rp 100,000,000,000!).
On April 8 police spoke to Clarence Mitchell, the spokesman for missing Madeline McCann’s parents, over attempts by people claiming to be Shannon’s relatives to get money from the fund set up to find her.
Picture of Shannon is borrowed from The Sun.