Investigations continue into discovery of human remains in river

Investigations into the discovery of human remains in a Sudbury river two weeks ago is continuing following the conclusion of searches in the area.

Officers were called at around 4.35pm on Thursday, August 27, after the remains were found inside two black bin bags in the River Stour, near Meadow Gate and Croft Bridge.

An initial Home Office post-mortem examination was conducted on Sunday, August 30, but was not able to establish a cause of death or any form of identification.

Further expert forensic tests have been ongoing as a result and have so far established that the victim was an adult male, who was likely to have been of an athletic or muscular build. The tests will also hopefully help to establish the time scale in which the victim died.

The use of DNA forms a central part of the effort to identify the victim in this case. This includes comparisons being made across a number of both national and international databases and is likely to take some considerable time to complete.

Searches of the River Stour and its banks, between Croft Gate Weir and Brundon Mill, concluded on Sunday, September 6. These were conducted with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Marine Policing Unit, Essex Police dog handlers and Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue (SULSAR).

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, Head of Crime, said: “We continue to do all we can to identify the deceased and are working with a number of other agencies to assist us in this. The UK Missing Persons Bureau hold records on every missing person in the country and where DNA profiles have been obtained, these are held on their database. We have run the initial profile we have of this individual through that database, but have not had a match at this time.

“There are other opportunities that remain open to us and we are continuing to develop these. However, as we have said from the outset, this is an investigation that will take considerable time.

“Following 10 days of searches in and around the River Stour, this work has now finished and the areas which had been closed off to members of the public are now open again.

“I would once again like to thank local residents for their patience whilst we completed this work and also the officers from the Metropolitan Police and Essex Police, along with the volunteers from SULSAR, for their assistance with the searches. We are also receiving ongoing support from the National Crime Agency and the experts that they are able to provide, for which we are also grateful.

“We are continuing to appeal for anyone with information about this shocking discovery to come forward. Someone must know who the deceased was, or have information about who deposited the remains, so please come forward and talk to us – any information you give us will be dealt with in confidence.”

Detectives are appealing for anyone who witnessed any suspicious behaviour near to the river in the week preceding the discovery to come forward. They would also like to hear from anyone who has seen black bin bags in unusual locations, such as ditches or hedgerows.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Major Investigation Team, either via https://mipp.police.uk/operation/363720N59-PO1 or by calling 101  or alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org

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