Internet blamed for girl's disappearance

Apparent case of Internet obsession ends with 16-year-old running away from home

A teenager who ran up a £873 Internet phone bill may have disappeared with someone she met online, her parents said Wednesday.

Karen Church, 16, from County Durham disappeared last Thursday after an argument with her parents over the cost of a phone bill for Internet access. He parents believe that a chatroom acquaintance could hold the key to her whereabouts.

The mother of the girl told reporters, "I am so worried about where she is and who she is with. There is no way of knowing who she may have met through the Internet. You hear these worrying tales. Even if she just gets in touch to say that she is safe and well, that would be something."

The girl was given Internet access for Christmas, but soon after developed an unhealthy obsession with chat rooms say her parents. "She had around 120 people she regularly corresponded with and we were concerned by this," he mother added. "We had no way of knowing who these people were that she was talking to."

Police have appealed for Karen to get in touch.

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