Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Worst Fears of Family May Be Realised

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Worst Fears of Family May Be Realised

Article excerpt

Byline: By Brenda Hickman

North relatives prepare for bad news as police hunt for body

Relatives of devoted dad Kevin Palmer feared he had been murdered when he went missing four years ago.

Now his elderly parents, who have moved from their Sunderland home to Co Durham, are bracing themselves for the worst news to be confirmed.

As revealed in last night's Chronicle, police are treating the mystery disappearance of Mr Palmer, 27, as a murder inquiry without a body.

A major search has been under way for a week at the former home of a convicted drugs dealer in Hampshire.

Mr Palmer was devoted to his daughter and while she stayed for holidays with her grandparents in Sunderland, he would never miss calling her.

A police source said: "He was a doting father. He was living in Spain with his wife and child but when he failed to get back to the North East to visit relatives they knew there was something drastically wrong.

"His disappearance was reported to Northumbria Police by his parents and extensive inquiries were carried out to find him, including using Interpol."

It is understood Mr Palmer had made a call to a friend in Chopwell, in the Gateshead area, saying he was returning to Britain for a family reunion.

He is thought to have had contacts on Tyneside, the Midlands and the Hampshire area.

Hampshire Major Crime Unit officers liaised with Northumbria Police as recently as four months ago over the investigation.

A sinister new twist came after Hampshire Police received further information.

They began digging up a garden in Hoe Road, Bishop's Waltham, after stripping the contents of the house, which was the former home of drugs trafficker, John Howett.

Mr Palmer, nicknamed Jon Bon Jovi, moved from the North East almost 10 years ago. He has a brother who still lives on Wearside.

He set up home in Spain with his wife and eight-year-old daughter. But he disappeared in the Hampshire area on March 13, 1999.

Det Insp Alison Scott, of Hampshire CID, said: "It was during the course or a review by the police in the North East last year that the file was referred to Hampshire Police.

"We have launched a murder inquiry. We do not have a body, but we do firmly believe he has been a victim of foul play."

Mr Palmer's family are not prepared to make a statement about the latest developments but they are being kept informed by a liaison officer from Hampshire Police.

Hampshire officers sealed off the semi-detached house in Hoe Road, on Monday.

It is understood police are looking for Mr Palmer's body.

Mr Palmer, who sold timeshare apartments, had been living in Spain with his wife and child until his disappearance.

He returned to the UK on Friday, March 12, 1999. At some stage he travelled to Hampshire and visited the Sir Joseph Paxton pub, in Hunts Pond Road, Locks Heath, and then went on to the Abshot Hotel and Country Club. …

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