Backpacker's family told of remains

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Eddie Gibson was last heard from when he sent an email to his mother while travelling in Cambodia Eddie Gibson was last heard from when he sent an email to his mother while travelling in Cambodia

The family of a British backpacker missing in the Far East for 10 years have been told that human remains have been found in Cambodia.

Eddie Gibson disappeared aged 19 in October 2004 when he last made contact with his mother saying he was looking forward to coming home.

This week it emerged that human remains were found near a lake in Poipet near the Cambodian border with Thailand.

Mike Gibson, the father of Eddie, from Hove, East Sussex, said the site has been secured as a crime scene as more bones, including a skull, have been discovered.

A pair of underpants, possibly Calvin Klein's which Eddie wore, were found in the area and it is suspected the body found had a broken arm, which Eddie had.

Eddie's dental records are now being sent to the Far East to help in the identification process as his family said they hope to bring closure to years of heartache.

Mr Gibson said the family were "waiting with bated breath" to learn whether the body is definitely Eddie so they can finally bring him home.

He said: "On Monday we were phoned by a private investigator who has a presence in Cambodia and who investigates children who have gone missing.

"He was notified by border police at Poipet that there had been some human remains found near a lake on the border between Cambodia and Thailand, on the Cambodia side.

"Over the last couple of days they have secured it as a crime scene, and they have been able to get more bones, including a skull, and they are assembling the skeleton."

The family believe Eddie may have been murdered on his way back from Phnom Penh in the area where the human remains were found.

If further examination leads investigators to believe the remains are Eddie, then the bones will be sent to the British Embassy in Phnom Penh for DNA and dental record checks.

Mr Gibson said: "We are waiting with bated breath. For his mother and I, we have had nine and a half years of not knowing.

"We do hope it is Eddie so we can bring him home and bring an end to all this not knowing what has happened to him.

"It's a strange feeling, and if it's not him then it has just relived the whole thing and added to the torture."

Eddie was three weeks into a combined Asian and Pacific studies and international management course at Leeds University when he left to travel around Cambodia.

On October 24 2004, he sent his mother Jo an email saying he was "really looking forward to coming home".

But the message was the last his family heard from him, and when they went to meet him off a flight which left Bangkok, Thailand, on November 1, he was not there.

In 2006, four officers from Sussex Police's major crime branch spent 10 days in Phnom Penh, working alongside the Cambodian National Police.

Interviews were conducted with people who had contact with Eddie, hotels he stayed at were visited and officers also travelled to Poipet, but Eddie's whereabouts remained a mystery.

Detective Chief Inspector Jeff Riley, of Sussex Police, said: "We are aware of the finding of human remains in Cambodia that are currently being examined to see if they could belong to Eddie Gibson.

"We are continuing to support the Gibson family, as we have since Eddie went missing, and will help them and the Cambodia authorities through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in any way we can to find out what has happened to him."

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