Police find car belonging to woman missing for five days

More than 50 police officers have joined the hunt for a 21-year-old woman who disappeared five days ago.

Amanda Edwards, a nursing care assistant, was last seen as she dropped her 19-year-old boyfriend off in the town of Calne, near Swindon, on Thursday morning. The alarm was raised by Miss Edwards's mother Beverley when her daughter failed to keep an appointment in Swindon that afternoon. Hours later the missing woman's car was found abandoned in a supermarket car park 20 miles from where she was last spotted.

Detectives from Wiltshire Constabulary yesterday conducted a fingertip search of the car park in the hope of finding any clues that might help them trace Miss Edwards. A dozen officers scoured the area, examining hedgerows and grass verges. Forensic officers are also examining her car, a green Rover Metro with distinctive red windscreen wipers, and CCTV footage from the area will be studied.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Howlett said: "We cannot explain Amanda's disappearance and we will do everything we possibly can to make certain that Amanda is safe from harm. We will talk to anyone who believes that they can help us and we will consider every possible scenario and discount nothing."

He added: "She comes from a stable background; she has a steady boyfriend. We are taking this very seriously. Our thoughts are very much with Amanda's family."

A reconstruction of her last movements is planned for Thursday and police posters are being put up around the town. A major incident room has been set up at Westlea police station in Swindon. Investigating officers said they were keeping an open mind, but admitted that abduction was one of the possibilities being considered. Police said that no calls had been made on Miss Edwards's mobile phone and no withdrawals made from her bank account since 7 April, the day before she disappeared Her family have described her disappearance as completely out of character.

Mrs Edwards said: "Her mobile is permanently switched off, which is very unlike her. Amanda works with children and adores kids. She is a quiet, reserved person but has always been very close to her family. She was planning to spend the weekend with me, probably going shopping, because her boyfriend was going away with his parents."

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said that Miss Edwards, who lives with her parents in Purton and has an elder sister, had been going out with her boyfriend for a year.

After the unnamed boyfriend was spoken to by police he had returned to the home he shared with his parents, but he was expected to be interviewed again.

Miss Edwards is described as being of mixed race, 5ft 6in, of very slim build, with short black bobbed hair. She was wearing a dark blue tracksuit top, dark green trousers, white trainers and was carrying a grey handbag.

She was also wearing an engagement ring which had two rings in one and a number of other rings, including a silver thumb ring on her left hand.