This is the story of then 9-year-old Shannon Matthews who went missing back in 2008.
Years after this case which shook UK took place, a documentary revealing details of it emerged. The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews showed how Shannon’s own mother Karen plotted the kidnapping while portraying herself as a worried parent pleading the police and the public to find her little girl.
Karen, who was at the time dating Craig Meehan, came up with a plan with his uncle, Michael Donovan, to make over $69,500 (£50,000) by claiming the reward money.
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And while she was crying crocodile tears on the national TVs and over 250 officers and 60 detectives were searching for her daughter, along with the help of thousands of drivers and hundreds of friends, sweet Shannon was kept inside Michael’s apartment, drugged and tethered.
Over 3,000 places were searched in hopes of finding the girl before Michael’s neighbors called the police saying they had heard tiny steps coming from inside his place.
Detective Constables Nick Townsend and Paul Kettlewell together with their teams went to check on Michael. What they saw inside his home left them in chills. Speaking to The Mirror, Nick said: “There was a deathly silence, then I heard a little girl’s voice. She said, ‘Stop it, you’re frightening me.’ I think Donovan had his hand over her mouth. I knew the voice had come from within the room. I couldn’t work out where it was coming from.”
Shannon was found in the base of a double bed and Michael was there too. He bit one of the officer’s arm and shouted: “Get Karen down here. We’re sharing the money – £50,000.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) February 1, 2020
As per The Guardian, the prosecutor Julian Goose QC called Karen “a proven, consummate, skillful and convincing liar.”
Both Karen and Michael were sentenced to eight years in prison. Years after she kidnapped her own daughter, Karen was reported to had told The Mirror: “I’m not Britain’s worst mum. I didn’t kill anybody. None of it’s true. I’m on the edge. It makes me want to kill myself but I’d never do that. I’m scared I’ll die lonely and alone.”
As for Shannon, she got a new identity and is living with a new family in an undisclosed location.