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Agony of missing girls' parents

A distraught Kevin and Nicola Wells at a press conference
A distraught Kevin and Nicola Wells at a press conference

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SOHAM, England -- Few people will know the nightmare that Nicola and Kevin Wells and Leslie and Sharon Chapman are going through.

No one would want to know.

They last saw their 10-year-old daughters alive 14 days ago.

Since then they have riden an emtional rollercoaster as they first had to face up to the disappearence of their daughters and then the shocking realisation that they may have been abducted.

Now, with police confirming that the two bodies found on Saturday 10 miles from the Cambridgeshire town of Soham -- where the Wells and Chapmans live -- are Holly and Jessica, they want to be left to mourn in private.

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Announcing that police were "as certain as we possibly can" that the bodies were those of the two girls, Deputy Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police, Keith Hoddy read a statement from their parents.

Sharon and Leslie Chapman said: "We would like to thank everybody for their kindness and support during this very tense and traumatic time, especially family, friends and the family liaison officers.

"Whilst we appreciate your support and all your assistance in this very trying time we would like, as a family, for you to respect our privacy and allow us some time alone."

The brief statement from Holly's parents, Nicola and Kevin Wells said: "Although still numb after losing our gorgeous daughter Holly, please accept our heartfelt thanks for everyone's help and support throughout this traumatic fortnight."

Leslie and Sharon Chapman appealed for whoever had the girls to
Leslie and Sharon Chapman appealed for whoever had the girls to "give them back"

As recently as Friday night the police were optimistic that they would find Jessica and Holly alive.

A police spokesman said: "We remain as optimistic as we were at the start of this inquiry that we will find Holly and Jessica alive."

Just hours earlier, both sets of parents had braved the cameras yet again as they attended a press conference to make another anxious plea for the girls safe return.

Mrs Chapman, 43, fought back tears to demand once more: "Give them back. Just give them back. Put an end to all of this for them."

She said: "Time doesn't mean anything. Hours and days just seem to roll into one. Before you know it, it's dark again. You don't realise the day's gone by."

The living horror that both familes were going through was never more apparent than when Mrs Chapman, asked how things were at home, made a comment that will have sent a chill through parents across the country.

"The noise level in my house is so quiet," she said.

"So quiet, even though there are lots of people coming in and out, it's just so quiet and empty."

Her husband added: "Someone's got them. They are not their children. They are our children. We want them back. We miss them so much."

Kevin Wells, 38, said he was keeping a pile of newspapers to read when their daughters were back safe.


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