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Bones discovered in Cambodia were not Hove backpacker Eddie Gibson's, police say
Updated 4:09pm Wednesday 19th March 2014 in News
The family of Hove backpacker Eddie Gibson who went missing 10 years ago have been left in limbo amid reports that human remains found in Cambodia are not his.
The former Cardinal Newman and BHASVIC student disappeared aged 19 in October 2004 when he last made contact with his mother saying he was looking forward to coming home.
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.
But reports in Cambodia say a joint investigation by the National Police and provincial authorities has ruled out the remains belonging to Eddie.
The Cambodia Daily newspaper quoted provincial police chief Kheng Soum, who said the body belonged to an Asian person.
He said: "After police carried out tests on the bones we concluded that they belong to an Asian person between 30 and 40 years old and that the time of death was about five years ago."
Mr Gibson said he was treating the information coming out of Cambodia with caution. He said: "The information that we were given contradicts what we have subsequently heard.
"That worries me, and I want to get to the bottom of that." He added: "I've only heard this news in the past 15 minutes."
Earlier, 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.
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."
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the reports and our thoughts remain with Eddie Gibson's family. We continue to be in contact with the family at this difficult time."
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