VIDEO: Sister of pub landlady from Ely who disappeared 17 years ago issues emotional plea for information

PUBLISHED: 00:05 18 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:50 18 September 2014

Deborah Steel

Deborah Steel

Archant

The half-sister of Deborah Steel, who disappeared from Ely almost 17 years ago, has issued an emotional plea for information that could finally solve the mystery surrounding her disappearance.

Deborah SteelDeborah Steel

Virginia Strecker has spoken of the “heavy burden” carried by Deborah’s family since she went missing in 1997 and said she felt sad that her father died before the truth could be uncovered.

Ms Steel, landlady of the Royal Standard pub, in Fore Hill, was 37 at the time she was last seen at about 1am on December 28.

In a fresh appeal for information, Ms Strecker called for witnesses to come forward.

Virginia Strecker, half-sister of Deborah Steel.Virginia Strecker, half-sister of Deborah Steel.

She said: “Debbie went missing 17 years ago under strange and in unexplainable circumstances.

“I knew in my heart of hearts after the first few weeks of her disappearance that she was no longer of this world, as she had made no contact with either myself or other family members. At the time, police exhausted every line of enquiry but to no avail.

“I find it so very sad that our father went to his grave without knowing the truth of Debbie’s whereabouts. Now the case has been reopened I plead to anyone who knows anything, however minor it may seem to them, to now come forward. We are convinced that someone knows about her fate.

“It has been a heavy burden to carry all these years and all we wish for is the answers so we can lay Debbie to rest at last.”

A 70-year-old man from Ely was arrested on suspicion of murder on September 2 and released on bail until October 2.

In the days after the arrest, forensic teams carried out a search of a property in Longfields, Ely, where Deborah used to live, during which a number of “items of interest” were seized.

● Anyone with information should contact police on 101. A video of Virginia Strecker’s appeal can be found on our website.

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