Every day brings agony, say parents of Alice Gross

A poster of missing Alice Gross hangs on a bridge over The Grand Union Canal at the location of her last sighting. Picture: Getty
A poster of missing Alice Gross hangs on a bridge over The Grand Union Canal at the location of her last sighting. Picture: Getty
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The parents of missing schoolgirl Alice Gross have said every day of their daughter’s disappearance brings “new agony”.

As a massive police hunt for the 14-year-old continues, Rosalind Hodgkiss and Jose Gross made a desperate renewed appeal for help in finding the schoolgirl.

Ms Hodgkiss, 50, a teacher, said yesterday: “This has obviously been a very distressing time for the whole family and every morning, as Alice’s disappearance grows longer and longer, brings new agony, new anguish. We’re coping as best we can and we’re trying to keep hopeful.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the community, our family and friends, the Facebook page and the police, and we’re making an appeal today to Alice, if she can hear us, that we want her to come home, that we miss her and love her.”

The couple spoke from the family home in Hanwell, west London, as police staged a reconstruction of the route that Alice was last seen walking, four weeks after her disappearance.

She was captured on CCTV at 4:26pm on 28 August, walking along a towpath alongside the Grand Union Canal in west 
London.

Her mother said: “We’re missing everything about her. We miss her smile, her presence, her quirkiness, every single thing about her we miss, and we want her back home where she belongs.”

Convicted murderer Arnis Zalkalns is the prime suspect in Alice’s disappearance, and Scotland Yard has come under fire for apparent delays in identifying him as a risk.

Commander Graham McNulty admitted on Wednesday that British detectives would have no power to arrest him if he has fled abroad, because they have not applied for a European arrest warrant due to a lack of evidence.

But Alice’s parents insisted they have complete faith in the police investigation.

Mr Gross, 60, said: “We’re 100 per cent behind the police and we know they are 100 per cent behind us as well.

“We’ve been amazingly impressed by the thoroughness, the precision and care that they have taken over this case.”

The couple said Alice had used social media, but they had warned her of the dangers involved and did not have any particular concerns about her going online.

Her mother said: “Alice used social media in the way that most teenagers use social media. She was often on her phone, she was often on the internet. Quite a lot of the time she was browsing – online window shopping. She took a lot of selfies.

“But we don’t have any particular concerns. Like any other parent, we talked about the dangers of online use.”

Alice’s father said: “We made sure that she was well aware of what the issues could be.”

The couple pleaded for anyone with information, no matter how apparently insignificant, to come forward.