By Karrie Gillet, Video by Oliver Farrimond
POLICE have stepped up the hunt for a missing 25-year-old woman who has not been seen in almost eight months.
The last known sighting of Samantha Wright was in June last year but she was not officially reported missing until January after failing to contact her family over Christmas.
Officers handed out leaflets in the Saughton area of Edinburgh where Miss Wright – who is originally from Hertfordshire – was living before she vanished.
Chief Inspector Andy Gilhooley, of Lothian and Borders Police, is leading the inquiry into her disappearance and said he was extremely concerned about her safety after she left her personal belongings behind.
He said: “Samantha has just totally fallen off the radar and we are very worried about her, as are her family in England.
“We are desperate to try and close the gaps in this investigation and find out where Samantha might have gone.
“It is highly unusual for someone to have gone missing for this period of time without leaving any trace.”
The 25-year-old had moved to Edinburgh three and half years ago after falling in love with the capital on a family holiday.
Chief Insp Gilhooley said she had lived a “haphazard” lifestyle with few friends or established places where she would regularly visit.
She had travelled to see her family in Stevenage early in May to celebrate her sister giving birth but they have not heard from her since.
An ex-boyfriend had contacted her parents when he had not seen her for four months.
They then raised the alarm with police after she didn’t get in touch over the December holidays, or on her birthday on January 5.
The last reported sightings of Samantha were in the first or second week of June 2008 in the city centre and at her home on Stevenson Drive.
Samantha’s mother revealed the distress her disappearance was having on the family.
Catherine Gibson, 46, said: “We don’t know what to think, some of the thoughts that go through my mind are just absolutely horrible.
“Knowing she is missing is like having a headache that won’t go away.”
The mother-of-three insisted Samantha was a friendly, bubbly girl who always got in contact with the family – including her brother and sister.
She said: “She would call to let us know she was okay and for a general chat.
“She loved living in Edinburgh and told us she would be making it her home for the future.
“We just thought she was busy when she was out of touch. I am certain she would have told us if she was moving on.
“Part of me hopes she has just gone off and is safe, having a good time and hasn’t realised just how long she has been away.
“But she left without taking any money and she has left nearly all her stuff behind. I can’t even think about the other possibilities
Chief Insp Gilhooley said: “Samantha has not withdrawn or used her bank card since she disappeared so we are obviously concerned about what fate might have befallen her with no money.
“She did not leave behind many possessions but she did not have much and we believe everything she left to be her worldly goods.
“Given the amount of time she has been missing and the lack of information about her, there are a lot of blanks that we need to fill in.
“At this stage we are growing increasingly concerned about her and I would urge anyone who has seen her to contact police immediately.”