Piers Hopson: Parents remember his 'enthusiasm and humour'
The parents of a man from East Sussex whose remains were identified nearly two years after they were found have spoken of how much they will miss him.
Piers Hopson, 35, who had Asperger syndrome, was last seen leaving his St Leonards care home in January 2010.
His remains were found by a French trawler eight months later off Newhaven, with the identity only confirmed to Sussex Police on Monday.
Roger and Dawn Hopson said they would miss their son's enthusiasm and humour.
"Piers was a very focused man but he left an impression on everyone he met," they said in a statement.
"He loved music and walking and was fascinated by the meaning of words. Once, when he was at school and he wanted the starring role in Richard III, he learnt the entire play off by heart.
"When something caught his attention, his enthusiasm for it knew no bounds.'Sad conclusion'
"We shall miss the way he would bound into the room talking non-stop about his latest interest, a sheaf of paper in one hand and a pencil in the other; how he would commandeer the newspaper over breakfast not realising that someone else might be reading it.
"Everything he did, he did with good humour."
Timeline of events from Sussex Police
- Piers Hopson is last seen leaving his care home in St Leonards on 25 January 2010
- Skeletal remains are found by the French trawler Sancta Maria nine miles south of Newhaven on 10 September 2010
- The vessel returns home that day and reports the find to the French police
- Two weeks later French police contact the Maritime Coastguard Agency
- Details are passed to the Hampshire Constabulary Marine Unit four months later
- The International Liaison Enquiry Team (ILET) are then informed
- In January 2011, ILET liaises with the National Missing Persons Bureau (NMPB), and asks whether DNA could be obtained from the remains
- A DNA profile arrives from France via Interpol on 27 April 2012, which is then sent to the NMPB
- Sussex Police are notified on 25 June 2012 that the profile matches Piers Hopson
Mr Hopson went missing after saying he was going for a walk. The last sighting of him was in Rock-a-Nore Road on Hastings seafront.
An intensive search by police, his family and volunteer search teams, was carried out and his parents, from Crowborough, offered a reward for information and made a TV appeal to try to find him.
They also visited Tunbridge Wells railway station in Kent every day for two weeks afterwards in the hope that he would arrive there by train, as he did when he visited their home.
In a renewed appeal for information last January, they said they had not given up hope he would be found alive and hoped someone was taking care of him.
Det Insp Rob Morland, who led the investigation, said: "My sympathies go to Roger and Dawn and the family.
"This has been a long investigation and we were only aware on Monday this week that Pier's remains had been discovered and identified.
"It is a sad conclusion but I hope his family can now have closure."