BREAKING – Pictured: Ukrainian refugee schoolgirl, 14, who died after being found on Devon beach
- Police were called to reports that the teenager had gone missing on Saturday
A Ukrainian schoolgirl who died after being found unconscious on a beach in Devon can today be pictured for the first time.
Albina Yevko, 14, had been living in Dawlish after fleeing Ukraine following Putin’s invasion.
She had been living with a local family with a mother, who said today: ‘Myself and my family are devastated to have lost our beautiful Albina.
‘Nothing can ever replace her in our hearts. We ask that our privacy is respected at this incredibly painful time.’
Police were called to reports that the ‘kind and caring’ teenager – who is believed to have been staying with a local family – had gone missing on Saturday evening.
Albina Yevko, 14, had been living in Dawlish after fleeing Ukraine with her mother following Putin’s invasion
Police were called to reports of a teenage girl missing from Dawlish on Saturday evening (image taken on Monday)
Searches by a police helicopter and coastguard tracked Albina to a beach in the town and she was airlifted to hospital, where she later died.
Her next of kin have been informed, Devon and Cornwall Police have confirmed.
The youngster has been described as a ‘kind and caring person’ by pupils at a local school that she was attending, The Sun reported.
One said: ‘She went to my school. It’s so sad, she was a lovely girl.’
Another pupil added: ‘We just got the news at the school I go to because she was a student here and we all think it’s horrible. She was such a kind and caring person and it is so sad to see her go.’
Her death is currently being treated as unexplained, with officers appealing for anyone with CCTV or doorbell camera footage to come forward.
The tragic incident has upset many local people in the area who are desperate for answers.
Carol Evans, a 72-year-old who volunteers at The Children’s Society shop in Dawlish, said: ‘I’m absolutely horrified, I think it’s dreadful. I hope it wasn’t somebody else that caused it.
‘I think people will be really upset about it. I ‘ve worked here for over 10 years. You get to know everybody here – I know 99 per cent of Dawlish.
‘We made friends with a lot of Ukrainian families – a lot of the ones we got on really friendly with have gone back.’
Searches by a police helicopter and coastguard tracked down the teenager to a beach in the town and she was airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital
Bike shop owner Radyk Modrzynsk said: ‘I’m in shock because my daughter is also 14. I will definitely be talking to her about the situation when she gets home from school. It makes me worried for her safety too.’
The owner of a local farm shop expressed concern for the girl’s family and described himself as ‘in shock’ when he heard the news. He added: ‘I’ve got teenage children as well and I’m just in shock by it. Our concern is for the poor girl’s family.’
Meanwhile, a post office worker said: ‘After everything those poor Ukrainian families have gone through back home. It’s really awful to hear.’
Jim Kernaghan, a 60-year-old senior kitchen assistant at the Brunswick Arms, said: ‘On Saturday evening the helicopter was coming over from the beach.
‘It was there hovering around and circling for a while, so we assumed something was happening. I thought somebody might have got drunk and fallen in the water.
‘Nothing like this has ever happened in Dawlish.’
Mark Barber, who is 38 and works as a chef at the pub, said: ‘I’d just like a bit more information really because there’s nothing out there. I’ve got my own children I’m worried about.
The local community in Dawlish have said they are looking for answers about what happened
‘I found out on the news. I’m concerned it’s something I need to be worried about. We often see Ukrainian families come through the pub for meals. It’s really sad news.’
A male customer at the pub, who drove out to the Polish/Ukrainian border in a van at the beginning of the war to deliver hundreds of pounds worth of aid to Ukrainians, said: ‘What I saw over there broke my heart. I remember giving out teddies to a little kid who’d lost everything. What I saw there broke my heart.
‘For that young girl, she’s seen a lot in Ukraine and she’s come here for a better life, and that’s happened to her – it’s heart-breaking.’
Mayor of Dawlish, Councillor Lisa Mayne said: ‘Our thoughts and profound condolences go out to the family, friends, and wider Ukrainian community in Dawlish at this heart-breaking time.’
Detective Inspector Becky Davies said: ‘We were called on the evening of Saturday 4 March with reports of a 14-year-old girl missing from the Dawlish area.
‘Localised searches took place with support from the police helicopter and coastguard and an unconscious person was found on Dawlish Beach.
‘She was subsequently airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where she later sadly died.’
Police are continuing to conduct their investigation along the Dawlish coastline
DI Davies added: ‘The deceased girl was a Ukrainian national who was living in the Dawlish area; contact has been made with the Ukrainian Embassy and the Home Office are also aware of this incident.
‘This death is currently being treated as unexplained and enquiries continue as to the circumstances surrounding this death.
‘Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the teenage girl at this tragic time.’
A post-mortem is due to take place on Thursday.
Anyone with any information or who may have CCTV/doorbell footage that can assist officers with the investigation is asked to contact [email protected] quoting case reference 50230052081.
MailOnline has contacted the Home Office and the Ukrainian Embassy for comment.
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