Annie Dryden has now not been seen in over a month after she stepped off a train in the North York Moors national park with walkers and rescue teams joining the search
Outdoor enthusiasts will scour the countryside as they take to the moors this weekend in bid to help solve the ongoing mystery of how a young woman has vanished without trace.
Even the smallest piece of evidence could be the key to determining what has happened to Annie Dryden, 20. The communities that border the North Yorkshire moors are keeping her distraught family in their thoughts and are keen to help as fears continue to mount for Annie’s welfare with weather conditions worsening.
Annie, from Middlesborough, was last seen on January 4, captured on CCTV stepping off a train at Battersby, a hamlet in the North York Moors national park, wearing walking gear. Earlier footage shows her in a black jacket and carrying a black and green walking backpack boarding a train at James Cook Hospital railway station in Middlesborough on the Thursday afternoon, before getting off at the small station. She hasn’t been seen since, and police, mountain rescue teams and even local shooting groups have been combing the area.
Now walking groups have vowed to do their bit as missing Annie’s loved ones urged as many people as possible to keep their eyes out. A family member told The Mirror: “The only message I can give is thank you to everyone and please can everyone keeping sharing anything they see and keeping eyes out.”
In response, Mike Elphinstone, from local walking group Northallerton Striders, vowed that members would certainly “be keeping an eye out”. He said that Annie may have ventured on to the Cleveland Way trail based on where she got off the train, and does not believe she would still be in Battersby.
He explained: “She would stand out in any case. The vast majority of people who walk in this area are over-50s and, I would say, mostly retired people. We don’t tend to see as many younger walkers. I would’ve thought she was getting off that train to walk. She will probably have walked from that area onto the Cleveland Way. Our group walks all over, but we will certainly be keeping an eye out.” Other walking groups said they were also on a lookout for Annie as the hunt continued.
Local councillor Heather Moorhouse, who lives a mile from where Annie was last sighted, said everyone from horse riders to rambling groups had been helping emergency services in the hunt. “I know the people in Battersby – it’s a tiny place and there are no buses. If she left Battersby, it was either by train or by foot,” she told The Mirror. “I know the local shooters and horse riders have been helping the mountain rescue team. They’ve had drones out and helicopters searching. The police have done a tremendous job so far but of course there are fears for her safety in this bad weather.”
Annie’s family issued an emotional plea earlier this week as they broke their silence, saying, “we just want to know you are safe”. “You don’t need to come home, we just need to know you are ok,” loved ones said.
“We love you and we miss you but we also understand there were events coming up at home which were causing you upset. These have now passed. So many people are worried about you, we are receiving so many messages from those concerned about you. Please just get in touch with someone.”
Cleveland Mountain Search & Rescue Team said: “In mid-January at the request of North Yorkshire Police, volunteer members of Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team were deployed to search an area of the North York Moors including around the village of Battersby where Annie was seen to get off a train some days before.
“Their search encompassed woodlands and higher moorlands near the village but after completing the areas requested by the Police and speaking with a number of passing walkers, runners and local residents they found no sign of Annie. The Team would reiterate the Police and family appeals for Annie to get in touch with someone to let them know she is okay and for anyone with relevant information to please contact them.”
Police said that, while the “focus of our search” remained in North Yorkshire, they were also appealing to people in the Sidcup area of London where it’s known Annie has connections. Inspector Ed Rogerson, said: “Finding Annie Dryden continues to be a priority for North Yorkshire Police.
“We have carried out extensive searches of the area and surrounding places where Annie was last seen. These have been done by professional, highly trained, specialist search officers. Other agencies, such as Cleveland Police and Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team have also assisted with this part of the investigation.
“House to house enquiries and media appeals have assisted officers and we continue to appeal to anyone who has information on Annie’s whereabouts to contact us with information. All information provided to us is assessed and followed up by officers.
“I would like to stress that Annie is not in any trouble, we just want to know she is ok. If she is reading this, I would ask her to get in touch with ourselves, the Missing People charity or friends and family, and just let someone know she is ok.”
Timeline of the disappearance of Annie Dryden
Thursday, January 4, 12.30pm
Annie is seen in the Duncombe Road area of Middlesbrough
Annie boards a train at James Cook Station in Middlesbrough bound for Whitby, North Yorkshire
Annie gets off the train at Battersby, a small hamlet in the North York Moors national park close to the town of Stokesley
Wednesday, January 10
The investigation is passed over to North Yorkshire Police who are leading the search.
Tuesday, January 16
North Yorkshire Police announces it is extending its search to the nearby village of Castleton in the North York Moors, around seven miles from Battersby.
Tuesday, January 23
Annie’s family issues appeal, saying “we just want to know you are safe”.
Wednesday, January 24
Police reveal Annie also had connections to London, in particular the Sidcup area, but stresses that North Yorkshire remains the focus of their search efforts. Detectives say “we know she has links to south east London we wanted to extend our appeal to those in this area”.