News | False hope over missing student

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The family of a Leeds University student who has been missing for a decade was forced to re-visit the tragedy this week after remains found in Cambodia were initially thought to be Eddie’s.

Eddie Gibson, who went missing in October 2004 while backpacking, was a first year studying Asian and Pacific Studies and International Management. He was three weeks in to his course when he left to travel to Cambodia On Monday of this week Eddie’s parents Mike and Jo Gibson were notified of the discovery of unidentified skeletal remains near a lake in Poipet, near the Cambodian border with Thailand.

During the week the Gibsons released a statement saying they believed the remains may have been Eddie’s, and that the area had been secured as a crime scene. However, on Wednesday a Cambodian newspaper reported that the bones belonged to an Asian person between 30 and 40 years old. Cambodian police estimated that the time of death was five years ago.

Mr. Gibson stated previously in the week that he was treating the information coming out of Cambodia with caution. Eddie’s dental records were sent to the Far East to assist with the identification of the remains. The bones discovered included a skull and an arm, which is thought to have suffered a break, an injury that Eddie also had before traveling.

19 year old Eddie, originally from Sussex, disappeared after sending an email to his mother on October 24 that said that he was “really looking forward to coming home”. Eddie’s parents Mike and Jo Gibson did not hear from their son again and a 10 year long investigation began after he did not meet them at a UK airport on November 1, the date he was scheduled to return home from Bangkok.

Detective Chief Inspector Jeff Riley, of Sussex Police, said in a statement: “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.”

Sean Hayes

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