A FAMILY is 'desperately worried' after a backpacker from Witney disappeared in Guatemala. 

Catherine Shaw, 23, was last seen in San Pedro in Lake Atitlan on Monday, and her loved ones fear for her safety.

Lucie Blackman Trust, which supports families of people missing abroad, has issued an international appeal for information - including a heartfelt plea from the young woman's parents.

MONDAY UPDATE: Helicopter and dogs set to join search for Catherine Shaw

Speaking from their Oxfordshire home, they said: "We are desperately worried since Catherine’s disappearance last Monday.

"She has always been really good about keeping in touch and informing us of her whereabouts and activities.

"So this is unusual behaviour which gives us great concern for her safety. Please help us to find her.”

In a video appeal shared online yesterday, the pair said they had been out of touch with their daughter for five days.

Her mum said: "We, your family and your friends, need to know that you're happy and you're well. Please get in touch."

Her dad added: "Your friends, your family, are all really worried about you - please come home, sweetheart."

Ms Shaw has been travelling in Guatemala in Central America for two weeks, having previously been in Mexico and California.

She left England to go travelling in September 2018 and has been described as an 'experienced traveller.' 

She is travelling with her friend, who awoke on Tuesday morning to find she was missing. 

It is understood her belongings, including her passport and mobile phone, were left behind.

Ms Shaw is described as 5ft 7ins tall and of slim build, with shoulder length blonde hair and blue eyes. She also has piercings in her nose, lip and ears.

Her dad said they believe she may have recently cut her hair shorter. 

  • Anyone with information is urged to call the charity on 0800 098 8485, or +44800 098 8485 from overseas numbers, or email ops@lbtrust.org

Jennifer Shaw has also made a Facebook appeal, asking people to 'please please please' help to find her sister.

An update posted on the Lucie Blackman Trust's Facebook page this morning said: "We have been inundated with offers of support, which is fantastic.

"The last sighting of Catherine is at the Eco Hotel, between San Juan and San Pedro.

"Searches around that area are being organised and some have already taken place. Catherine has not been found at this point.

"Those in the area wanting to help are urged to join the local searches.

"Catherine is reported to have a hang with her. This is kind of hand pan, sometimes referred to as a drum. Other reports suggest she has a guitar but these are unconfirmed.

"Catherine's father is on his way to Guatemala to join the searches."

Witney Gazette:

San Pedro marked on map of Guatemala, on the shore of Lake Atitlán. Pic: Google Maps

Matthew Searle, chief executive of the Lucie Blackman Trust, said raising awareness of her disappearance is crucial at this early stage. 

He added: "We are grateful as ever to our supporters worldwide for their support in sharing this appeal.

"The first few days are vitally important – people could still be in the area who saw something.

"We urge anyone who may have any information, no matter how small, to get in touch as soon as they can. They could hold the key to bringing Catherine home.”

A Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed they are supporting the family of a British woman and are 'in contact with the local authorities as they search for her.'

The Eco-Hotel Mayachik, where Ms Shaw was last seen, posted on Facebook yesterday [translated]: "We inform that she entered [our hotel] along with her friend Elena Consolini on Sunday March 3 at 13:37:44 and Catherine left the hotel on Tuesday March 5 in the morning specifically at 1:37:52 am, taking a musical instrument, this information was taken from our security cameras.

"She left leaving her belongings in the room that has been provided, and her friend came out on the same day Tuesday in hours of the morning.

"We've seen in the cameras that she came out with a hang instrument in a black case.

"If anyone has seen this instrument somewhere please report it."

In a public Facebook post shared by Ms Consolini this morning, she said she assumed her friend had gone for a hike or a walk, but she did not come back. 

The post added: "She had nothing with her, just a little puppy white and grey that she found two days before, no shoes.

"She is usually wearing an orange/red hippie style jacket, a brown scarf."

She said Ms Shaw 'loves nature' and the ocean, and urged people in the area to keep an eye out for 'our fairy sister.'