A 17-year-old girl who went missing while on holiday with her family as Disneyland Paris last month could be ‘anywhere in the Schengen area’ by now, police have told her family.
Amber Victoria Palm moved to County Cavan with her parents and younger brother last March and disappeared while on the trip to Paris in August.
The family is originally from South Africa and have been desperately trying to make contact with her ever since.
On Lunchtime Live this morning, her mother Mactalene said she feels like there is nothing she can do – even though nobody has heard from Amber Victoria since August 10th.
She said her daughter left the hotel in the middle of the night on August 7th and CCTV showed that she met a man at a nearby petrol station and drove away.
After speaking to some of her friends, she found out that Amber Victoria had been speaking to the man online for a while before the holiday.
French police were able to tell her that the man had only entered France by ferry the day before.
She said she has heard nothing from her since she went missing.
“She was in contact with some of her friends, but the last they heard from her – anything - was on the 10th of August,” she said.
“I've got no idea. I just want to know that she is safe. Or even give me a call or anything.”
Mactalene said French police initially treated the case as a runaway and are now telling her there is nothing they can do.
“They were saying she's a runaway, but you know what? She is still a minor,” she said.
“I mean, in today's life, anything can happen. You know, for me, it feels like, you know, she was groomed but I don't know; I can't say that.
“She always loved to be on her phone and taking selfies and things like that but now, even not being in contact with us, she was in contact with her friends until the 10th but now there is nothing.
“They even tried to track the guy's car, but nothing. They haven't picked up his car, so how can they just disappear?”
She said Gardaí have been more helpful than their French counterparts – but now they are telling her they have tried everything they can.
They told her Amber Victoria could now be anywhere in the Schengen area.
Mactalene said Amber Victoria had settled into Cavan well and was looking forward to going back to Sixth Year in school.
Asked if she plans to return to France to continue the search she said: “If we go there, we can't speak to anyone because we don't speak French.”
“And if he's not in France, then you know, what do we do? We’ve just got to fly somewhere else in the Schengen area.
“If she phones or if the cop phones and tells us, you know, where exactly she is, I’ll fly over and fetch my baby.
“I wish there was more that I could do,” she continued.
Mactalene said she has spent the last few weeks trying to stay strong for her son.
“I’m trying to keep it together; keep my head and be strong because I have to look at her brother's face every day, being upset or missing his sister – wanting his sister home,” she said.
Amber Victoria’s family are appealing to the public for any information on her whereabouts.
She was last seen leaving Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe in Coupvray, France on August 7th at 2am.
Anyone who knows where she is or has seen is asked to reach out to Gardai or local police wherever they are.
You can listen back here: