Remains found in park identified as pensioner who vanished in 2009

The remains of a pensioner found in a park are that of a man who went missing 14 years ago, police confirmed.

Michael Conboy disappeared without a trace on April 20, 2009, leaving his family baffled.

Years of appeals and searching had brought no closure for the 81-year-old’s heartbroken relatives.

However, his family has now been told by the British Transport Police (BTP) that remains found at Brackley Park, Hull, in December last year are Michael’s.

The news will bring heartache but also some closure to Michael’s family.

One family member told Hull Live: “Of course it’s a relief to the family that he has been found and can finally be laid to rest.

“Mick was fondly known by many people, especially in North Hull.”

BTP confirmed on Tuesday that the body had been identified.

It was found on December 7 in the small park near homes in east Hull, triggering a major police response.

Forensic teams were on site for two weeks as they tried to establish the identity of the remains and how the person died.

They have now identified the remains after a member of Michael’s family came forward and DNA confirmed it was him.

There are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances but how he died remains unclear.

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A spokeswoman said: “Detectives from British Transport Police have now identified a person after human skeletal remains were found on a railway embankment in Hull. On Wednesday, December 7, 2022, officers were called to reports of human bones found near Brackley Park in Hull.

“The area was cordoned off while specialist teams conducted a search of the scene and found the skeletal remains of one person.

“These have now been identified as the remains of Michael Conboy who went missing in 2009 when he was 81.

“Following a media appeal, a member of his family recognised some of his possessions and got in touch with detectives.

“DNA enquiries have confirmed his identity.

“Detectives do not believe there were any suspicious circumstances to his death but are continuing their enquiries to establish how he came to be at the location, and how he died.

“As they continue their investigation they would also like to appeal to the community and ask that they respect the privacy of Michael’s family as they come to terms with this sad news.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 465 of 07/12/22.”

Police revealed recently that size seven Hush Puppies shoes, dark brown trousers with a brown belt, a dark-coloured Henley and Knight Jacket, and a grey and black striped jumper were found at the scene.

There was also a “New Zealand” key ring and two Sekonda wrist watches.

The body was found close to railway lines and it is believed there may have been an accident on the tracks.

A spokesperson for the British Transport Police said last month: “The area was cordoned off while specialist teams conducted a search of the scene and found the skeletal remains of one person, estimated to have been there for over seven years.”

Michael’s sister Ellen King described the impact on the family a year on from his disappearance back in 2010.

“It has been terrible,” she said in 2010. “I have had four or five chest infections in the last year, all down to stress.

“Every time the phone rings I think it will be news about Michael.

“He was in good spirits when we last saw him and his disappearance is so out of character.”

Sister Sheila Robinson added: “It has been dreadful. It’s the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think before I go to sleep. I don’t know how much longer I can live like this.”

Michael’s nephew Paul Robinson also expressed frustration at the lack of progress but would not dream they would still remain in the dark years later.

Back in 2010 he said: “We are now totally reliant on someone somewhere who remembers seeing Mick at any time during the past twelve months.

“It is impossible to describe the feeling of helplessness and frustration that we are going through.

“Every day we hope for a breakthrough. We will never stop worrying and we will never give up hoping.”

Police searches using mounted units, divers and a helicopter failed to find the pensioner, who had been confused after his discharge from hospital following a viral infection.

Mr Conboy used to work for Hull City Council’s parks and gardens department and had always lived in the north Hull estate.

Despite the large scale police searches around Hull and numerous appeals for information he had never been located until now.

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