A BRAVE young girl touched the hearts of millions of TV viewers as she read a letter appealing for her missing dad to come home.
Little Leah Waller, five, held back sobs as she pleaded to dad Darren Waller: “We hope you come home as we all love and miss you.”
Dad-of-three Darren, 36, has not been seen since seeing his children in the Foggy Furze area of Hartlepool at about 5.30pm on Sunday, January 9.
Leah sat with her sisters, Kayleigh, 16, and Ellie, eight, and mum Lisa Gleaves – Darren’s ex-wife – on the sofa of BBC morning show Missing to make an emotional 15-minute appeal for information yesterday.
Leah had written the letter before the show. It also tells how her front teeth have fallen out and that she has had her ears pierced, that their dog Cleo has sadly died and Kayleigh got a tattoo on her arm saying “dad”.
It was written in the hope her dad may hear her words and return to his family.
The programme also showed photographs from the family album, as well as video footage of various searches taking place around Hartlepool, while the family were pictured in their home putting together a scrapbook of Mail clippings covering the case.
Lisa, 36, of the town’s Kells Grove, said: “It was really emotional watching the programme.
“Obviously it was filmed last week so we knew how it had been planned, but to see it put together was heartbreaking, especially when I saw the kids crying.
“I’m so proud of them for going on the TV, even though it was upsetting for them.
“But I’m very pleased with it and I hope by going national in the search for Darren we might finally get some answers. That’s all we can hope and pray for.
“But I know there must be someone somewhere who knows something and it is about time they spoke up for the sake of the children.”
Detective Sergeant Peter Carr, of Hartlepool CID, accompanied the family to the London studio last week to tell the audience about the police investigation.
Darren is now also being featured on the Missing People website, which features the information of 359 people missing across the UK.
Darren, who lived in a flat in Alma Street, was last seen wearing a light blue sweater with dark stripes across the chest, dark blue jeans, white trainers and had an earring in his left ear.
He is described as 5ft 8ins-tall, white, with a shaved head and tattoos on his hands and arms.
Anyone with information is asked to call Cleveland Police on (01642) 326326.
Missing People also has a confidential, free-to-ring service on 0800 700740 that Darren is asked to ring for advice and support. The Missing People website is at www.missingpeople.org.uk