Sarah Wellgreen, 46, (pictured) had moved back into her ex Ben Lacomba’s £330,000 four-bedroom home in New Ash Green
A missing mother-of-five reportedly argued with her ex-boyfriend over benefits payments the day before she went missing.
Sarah Wellgreen was last seen on the evening of October 9 and has not been in touch with her family.
The 46-year-old’s iPhone 4 is also missing and untraceable and she has not used any of her bank cards since she vanished.
Police say the beautician has also missed one of her children’s birthdays.
Detectives said they are treating Sarah’s disappearance as suspicious and potentially a murder inquiry.
Police search teams are combing the areas around the village of New Ash Green near Dartford, Kent, today with volunteers from the village searching footpaths and bridal tracks around the community looking for the missing black phone.
She was said to have had a disagreement with her former husband Ben Lacomba, 38, who she still lived with despite the couple breaking up to reduce the stress on their children.
The 46-year-old got a new job and told her new boyfriend, Neil James, 45, that Ben wanted to claim benefit money for their three children as she was employed, according to the Sun.
Neil reportedly received a Facebook message from the mum saying: ‘Next he will be saying they live with him.’
Today police marine units dredged a river bed as detectives stepped up their search for the missing mother.
Police divers have been searching a river near where Sarah Wellgreen went missing trying to find clues to her whereabouts, in particular her black iPhone
The marine search unit officers from Kent Police dredged the River Darent in Dartford, Kent, as the hunt for missing Sarah continued today
Officers have been searching Dartford town centre for Sarah’s black iPhone 4 following her disappearance on October 9
Neil James (right) claims he secured a mortgage to buy out Miss Wellgreen’s former partner, Ben Lacomba (left)
This afternoon three specially-trained officers wearing waders got into the waist-deep River Darent, which runs through the busy Dartford town centre, used a conical-shaped aquascope to look underwater as well as using sticks to probe the river bed.
Two officers also flew a drone over the site as it is thought the team were looking for Sarah’s missing mobile phone.
Police units have been searching undergrowth, flower beds and drains in the centre for three days in a bid to find the phone.
The uncle of the missing mother-of-five today said he is so distraught about her disappearance it has been ‘hard to hold the emotions back’ at work.
Keith Wellgreen said he is having sleepless nights thinking about his niece and believes ‘something has definitely happened’ to her.
The 60-year-old bus driver, from Fareham, Hampshire, said: ‘I’m gutted really – I’ve been up since 3am again this morning just thinking about it.
‘It’s hard to believe this is even real. You always hear about other people’s problems and what other families have to go through for missing people and murders – you just never imagine it could happen to a member of your own family.
‘The back of my mind thinks something has definitely happened to her because it’s been so long.
‘The police are doing a wonderful job and deep down I am praying they find her alive. ‘I don’t really talk about it to people – it’s just too difficult.
Police and residents have joined the search for missing Sarah with a Facebook group launched to co-ordinate the hunt
Sarah put her former partner at the top of an online ‘hate list’ two years ago, according to Neil, who says he was her boyfriend at the time of her disappearance
This afternoon divers have been scouring a nearby river and using a drone to fly over the site
‘I work driving the buses every day, so people say to me ‘have a nice weekend’ but they don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. I’m sure things will be nicer for them than for me.
‘When I was driving a few days ago a story came on the radio about Sarah and it was hard to hold the emotions back. It’s just very upsetting.
‘I’ve always been a man who has kept myself to myself and find it difficult to talk about how I’m feeling, but this has been really hard.’
Friends of the mum are becoming increasingly worried about the amount of time that has gone by without her getting in touch.
Jody and Laura Fullbrook’s son George, six, regularly played with one of Sarah’s six-year-old twins.
Jody, 42, said: ‘I am starting to fear the worst – it’s been too long. She’s not used her bank cards, her phone, she’s not used her car.
‘You can’t disappear nowadays without showing some sign of where you are.
‘She wouldn’t have stayed away from her kids for this long. She wasn’t that aloof. Something has happened.
‘She was never away from her kids for very long. Missing her kid’s birthday… it just doesn’t sound right.
‘Her poor children. All the kids will be absolutely devastated. We really hope she does get found safe and well and everyone can stop worrying.’
Fire Service search teams at the cordon in Scratchers Lane near Fawkham, Kent, where the search is being carried out
Police are investigating why CCTV cameras near to the house where Sarah Wellgreen lived were disabled during her disappearance
Searches are expected to continue there today with specialist police teams – who are being advised by a national search and forensic unit – scouring undergrowth and plant beds in Dartford
Laura said the mother used to visit Portsmouth regularly while working at weekends but always stayed in contact with her family.
The 32-year-old said: ”She’d always be in contact with them. I’m worried for Sarah. It’s been too long now.’
Laura said she initially thought Sarah may have gone on holiday with a man after being on dating sites.
She added: ‘She was on a lot of dating sites. At first, I thought she might just have gone away for a week with someone.
‘But now it’s been three weeks nearly. It’s starting to feel round here like she has been killed. I hope she does turn up.’
Officers searching a river today in connection with the disappearance of Sarah.
Kent Police said: ‘Marine search unit officers are currently searching the River Darent in Dartford town centre in connection with the disappearance and potential murder of New Ash Green mother of five, Sarah Wellgreen.’
Sarah is described as being white, around 5ft 7in tall, of medium build, with green eyes and straight, brown, shoulder-length hair.
Last night police finished searching woodland near her home in the village of New Ash Green as drains were also searched in nearby Dartford.
Detective Inspector Chris Greenstreet said: ‘Our officers are continuing to carry out searches, which include Dartford town centre and areas near Fawkham, in connection with the disappearance and potential murder of New Ash Green mother of five Sarah Wellgreen.
Police are scouring Dartford in Kent as they search for the one item missing from Miss Wellgreen’s home – her phone
Sarah’s new boyfriend Neil James, 45, spoke to her on the phone for 15 minutes when she was tucked up in bed on the night that she vanished. The pair pictured together above
Police are combing the streets in Dartford in Kent as they search for the mobile phone missing from her home
Police officers were seen leaving a vineyard after they started digging at the site, which has been cordoned off since the disappearance was reported
‘Officers are being assisted by Kent Fire and Rescue Service personnel with their drone.
‘In Dartford, Kent County Council contractors have assisted with the examination of drains and Dartford Borough Council have also helped officers with ongoing searches.’
Sarah also put her former partner at the top of an online ‘hate list’ two years ago, according to Neil, who says he was her boyfriend at the time of her disappearance.
In a social media post written by Sarah in February 2016 listed the ‘four things I hate’ with ex-partner Ben at the top of the list, with ‘four things I love to watch’ included her children at the top and ‘Ben losing’ at the bottom.
She had moved back into her ex Ben’s £330,000 four-bedroom home in New Ash Green with their three youngest children in recent months.
But the romance had not rekindled, with friends telling how the former lovers had a hostile relationship after years of fighting for custody of their children.
In a revealing Facebook post in the midst of the separation battle in 2016, the beautician put ‘Ben’ at the top of a list of things she hated, and ‘Ben losing’ on a list of things she loved to watch.
A close friend claimed Sarah had been seeking legal advice in order to buy Ben out of the house as recently as July.
Searches are expected to continue there today with specialist police teams – who are being advised by a national search and forensic unit – scouring undergrowth and plant beds in Dartford town centre close to the railway station and civic centre as well as the town’s theatre.
Fire service rescue teams have been called in to help police with the search for missing Sarah
Police say they are concerned about her whereabouts and say her disappearance is suspicious and may lead to a murder inquiry
Police search officers in Scratchers Lane near Fawkham in, Kent, as the investigation continues in to the disappearance of the mum-of-five
Police cars blocked the road at junctions leading into the area of interest and at one stage on Friday an officer was seen digging in an area of a field briefly as police revealed Sarah was not reported missing until 36 hours after she disappeared.
Sarah was last seen on the evening of October 9 in the area of her home in New Ash Green and is thought to have vanished overnight between Tuesday October 9 and 10.
But police revealed she was reported as a missing person on the morning of Thursday October 11 and investigators will not reveal who reported her as missing.
Kent Police issued a missing persons appeal to find Sarah on October 12.
Police conducted a search of Hythe Street in Dartford. Officers searched in drains and bins by All Night Cars, where Sarah Wellgreen’s former partner worked as a taxi driver.
They also searched the garden at The Stage Door pub nearby telling bar staff they were looking for Sarah’s phone.
It comes as Neil, who said he was Sarah’s partner when she disappeared, claims he secured a mortgage to buy out her former partner as he and Sarah planned to marry.
The day she disappeared she had seen a number of mystery private clients on the day she disappeared, it has emerged.
Neil says he spoke to her on the phone for 15 minutes when she was tucked up in bed on the night that she vanished.
He said: ‘She’s a massage therapist, beautician, that sort of thing. She has private clients.
‘She’d just finished private clients on the Tuesday when she text me to say that she got home at 8.15pm.’
A cordon was set up around the area where search teams have been combing the are looking for clues
Ben Larcomba playing with a Nerf gun. The taxi driver was questioned for three days before being released under investigation
Her close friend Katharine Griffiths said she had last spoken to her in July.
She said: ‘She was her usual happy and bubbly self.’
As well as working weekends at Puresun Health and Beauty in Portsmouth, she also took on private massage clients.
And on the Tuesday she was last seen in New Ash Green, the 46-year-old saw several people for personal appointments.
Kent Police have refused to confirm whether that is one of their lines of investigation, saying the inquiry is ongoing.
Sarah and Ben had once owned a bar together while living in Spain before moving to the secluded village near Dartford.
But friends said by 2014 the couple had split up, and the following years saw hostilities heat up as they argued over their three children – a 12-year-old son and six-year-old twins – and who owned the house.
A close friend, who works in a Kent beauty salon and did not want to be named, said: ‘Three years ago Sarah went through a very difficult time over the children.
‘The pair had a volatile relationship and Sarah could be up and down very quickly.
CCTV cameras near to the house where Sarah Wellgreen lived were reportedly disabled during her disappearance.
Detectives questioned taxi driver Lacomba for three days last week before releasing him pending further investigation. He has an obsession with Nerf guns, the children’s toys that fire foam darts.
Ben’s father Juan, 72, told The Times: ‘He is not involved at all, he is a good man. It is all a shock. I think she has run away. There were other men, so who knows.’
Officers are continuing to search the town centre after the mother’s mobile phone was the only thing found to be missing from her Kent home
Searchers comb through bushes in Dartford, Kent, as they look for the missing black iPhone 4
Detective Superintendent Paul Fotheringham who is leading the investigation and search, said earlier this week: ‘We are investigating the disappearance of Sarah. It is entirely out of character for her to go missing and having conducted extensive enquiries and searches, this case is now being treated as a potential murder.
‘Sarah has disappeared without a trace, the only item missing from the home is her black iPhone 4.
‘Officers have conducted extensive searches in New Ash Green and surrounding rural areas.
‘While we continue our investigation and enquiries, I would urge anybody who saw anything suspicious in the New Ash Green area at around the time Sarah went missing, that is overnight from the evening of Tuesday October 9, into the morning of Wednesday 10 October, to contact us.
‘We have experts with specialist technology and forensic scientists working with us to try and find Sarah.
‘Residents, businesses and landowners in the rural areas around New Ash Green are asked to check their outhouses, and areas surrounding their properties.
‘We are particularly interested to hear from anyone with fixed cctv cameras within a five mile radius of New Ash Green, whether this is residential or commercial cctv to come forward.
‘Likewise, anyone who was out on the evening of the October 9 to the morning of 10 October in that five mile area who has dashcam in their vehicle, please contact us.
‘We are also appealing to those living and working in the area bordered by the A2, M25, Meopham, Cobham, Horton Kirby and Darenth to check their sheds, outbuildings and areas of rough ground or woodland for any sign of Sarah.
‘Dog walkers and anyone out in rural areas should also call us if they see anything that seems suspicious.
‘If you think you may have seen Sarah or something suspicious but are not sure, please do not hesitate to call and let us know.
‘I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those who have already called us, assisted with searches or sent messages of support to family who have been badly affected by Sarah’s disappearance.’