FRIENDS and family of missing teenager Jonathan Marques brought drivers to a standstill as they stood shoulder to shoulder in a solemn march across town to retrace the youngster's last known footsteps.
More than 200 supporters gathered at the family home in Bamburgh Close, Whitley, Reading, at 1pm today (Saturday) for an hour long march along Hexham Road, Canterbury Road, Basingstoke Road and Rose Kiln Lane where he was last spotted 11 days ago.
The 15-year-old had left home on his way to Blessed Hugh Faringdon School in Fawley Road, Southcote on the first day of Spring Term last Tuesday at 8.30am, but did not arrive, leading to a frantic search by Thames Valley Police and members of the community.
The Marques family, who had moved to England from Goa three years ago, were joined on the march by fellow countrymen who had travelled as far afield as Maidenhead, London and Swindon.
Supporters clutched banners and posters and wore t-shirts showing Jonathan's image, and handed out leaflets to drivers along the route in a desperate bid to find him.
Family friend Evan Correia, who organised the rally, which was flanked by police officers, said: "This is the route that Jonathan took to school on Tuesday morning and we think that more people will come to know about him by following this route.
"Saturday is such a busy time so we are handing leaflets to people and hope it will really help to get even the slightest information from people." He added that many drivers and pedestrians had spontaneously stopped to ask for posters to take away with them to help with the search, and the group had ventured as far as the A33 Reading Relief Road to spread the word.
Thames Valley Police spokesman David Paull, said: "It was all about continuing to raise the profile of the search for Jonathan and keep it in the news to jog people's memories. It's to see if people recognise him or remember seeing him." He added: "We are just trying to explore every avenue." More than 200 people had also attended a special mass at St James' Church in Forbury Road at 11am today where prayers were said for the teenager's safe return.
Jonathan is slim and 5ft tall, with untidy black hair and braces on his teeth. He was last seen wearing his school uniform of maroon jumper and black trousers and carrying a dark ruck-sack and grey hooded top.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0845 850 5505 quoting URN 406 09/01/09 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.