Swansea mum relives agonising wait to find her missing daughter
A MUM has relived the agony of not knowing what had happened to her daughter after the youngsters vanished from their home.
Four-year-old Caitlin let herself out of the house while mum Lynsie Johnson turned her back for two minutes.
The disappearance prompted a major search operation from the police and dozens of family, friends and neighbours in St Thomas, Swansea.
The youngster was happily playing with a friend just streets away from her Miers Street house — but her mum was left fearing the worst.
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Miss Johnson said: "I just went to wash my hands and I when I came back the front door was ajar and she was gone. I ran outside but couldn't see her.
"As time went on and we couldn't find her I was thinking all kinds of things — I thought maybe she had been abducted.
"It was horrendous, I just didn't know what had happened, all kinds of thoughts go through your mind."
The youngster wondered off just before 2pm on Monday — leading to an extraordinary response from neighbours.
"Within minutes word spread from one end of St Thomas to another," said the 36-year-old.
"Mums with prams were out looking for her, people were in their cars driving around the area — at one time we had so many people in their cars here the street was blocked. It was an amazing response."
By 2.40pm the police had been told about the disappearance, and officers began combing St Thomas going door to door and garden to garden, as well as using the force helicopter to search the area.
Meanwhile, a family liaison officer sat with the frantic mother.
Miss Johnson said: "I wanted to go out and search but the police wanted me to stay put in the house.
"I was just pacing up and down in the house, I didn't know what to do with myself — there was nothing I could do.
"I had a family liaison officer with me, and I could hear all the activity on the police radio."
It was a police officer searching a garden in nearby Balaclava Street just after 4pm who found the youngster playing with a nursery friend — and completely unaware of what was going on around her.
Officers then escorted Caitlin back to the arms of her mother.
Miss Johnson said: "I heard on the police radio they had found her — I was so relieved, it was amazing.
"I want to thank everyone who looked for her."
St Thomas councillor Clive Lloyd said the reaction to the disappearance from both police and neighbours was "brilliant" — but not surprising.
He said: "Myself and fellow ward member Joe Hale have built up a good relationship with the local police and they contacted us straight away to keep us informed about what was going on, which was excellent.
"But I have to say it was down to the local community, I heard stories of people coming from all over the ward to help out — it makes you feel proud and privileged to represent them.
"Fortunately it was all done very quickly and I would like to pay tribute to the police.
"The reaction was brilliant but I am not surprised. It is still a genuine, traditional community in Swansea."