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Appeal as French beauty contestant goes missing

Sophie Inge · 1 Aug 2013, 13:26

Published: 01 Aug 2013 13:26 GMT+02:00

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Allison Benitez, 19 , and her mother Marie, 53, went missing on July 14th from the southern French city of Perpignan, the capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales department.

On Sunday August 5th Allison is due to participate in the Miss Roussillon competition, a beauty contest for the regions of Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées, Quercy Rouergue and Aquitaine, but no one has seen her or her mother for three weeks.

“We don’t understand what’s going on,” one of her friends told Le Parisien newspaper. “Allison had no reason to leave, to run away. She was so happy. She was preparing for the Miss Roussillon competition, which was her personal ambition this summer with a view to participating in the Miss France competition.”

Cindy Filipiak, organizer of the beauty pageant described Allison as the "most motivated of candidates" before adding "this is not like her at all".

A neighbour told the same newspaper: "She's absolutely beautiful. Always very well turned-out and so elegant, like her mother. She didn't go out much and never with the young people in the area, who meet in the evening in the squares. That wasn't her style."

Allison’s father began searching for his daughter on July 15th, the day after she disappeared and it was he who raised the alarm, Le Parisien reports.

She had been due to attend a rehearsal for the Miss Roussillon ceremony that day but never showed up. 

Since the mother and daughter disappeared their Facebook and Twitter pages have gone quiet and neither has used their bank accounts or answered their phones.

The pair also left behind their car and pet dog, a sign, say the family’s neighbours, that they did not intend to stay out long.

Police are now investigating what they describe as a "worrying disappearance".

An appeal for witnesses has so far failed to shed light on what might have happened. Police say they have have no idea why the pair have gone missing and are keeping an open mind.

Story continues below…

Five officials from the Perpignan police force are currently working on the case.

Allison is described as 1.74m and “dressed in a blue denim shorts at the time of her disappearance with an openwork vest”. Her mother, a 53-year-old woman, has green eyes and glasses, measuring 1.67m. She was dressed in trousers and a black top.”

Anyone with information about their disappearance are urged to contact Perpignan police station on 04 68 35 70 00. 

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

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