Hopes dim as police intensify search for missing girl

Anna Janatková

After an eight-day nationwide search for a missing 9-year-old girl the police on Thursday reported a breakthrough in the case, saying they had arrested a suspect on the grounds of a DNA test and were renewing an intensive search in the vicinity of the girl’s home.

Anna Janatková
Nine-year-old Anna never made it back home from school on October 13 and all efforts to find her proved futile. Despite the fact that hundreds of officers were on the case within hours, combing the vicinity and the nearby riverbed, the only trace they found was her abandoned schoolbag and her bottle of water, lying close to where she was last seen. An intensive round-the-clock police operation involving 800 officers, sniffer dogs and a helicopter with thermo-vision was called off on Sunday, on the assumption that she was not anywhere near her home and may have been abducted to a different part of the country or even abroad. The investigation took a different turn, with the police painstakingly checking out possible suspects.

On Thursday morning the police announced a breakthrough, saying they had arrested a suspect in connection with the case. The man is reported to have a criminal record and his DNA was found to match traces of the DNA found on the girl’s abandoned schoolbag. It is not clear how much the man confessed, but the police have renewed an intensive search for the girl in the vicinity of her Troja home – they are once again using sniffer dogs and have called in the military police for help. On Thursday afternoon the police closed off large parts of the area and dozens of officers armed with shovels started digging for the girl’s body. A police spokeswoman said the army was prepared to provide heavy digging equipment if necessary.

Photo: CTK
Clearly, everything now points to a violent crime and in the past few hours the family’s hopes of finding Anna alive have dimmed. As the country waits for news, Anna’s plight has once again raised issues of child safety and what can be done to increase their protection.