PORTUGUESE police investigating the disappearance of a man from East Sussex have discovered a body they believe is missing Brit Joel Eldridge.
The 29-year-old, from Bexhill, was living in Macieira, near Serta in Portugal, when his family last heard from him in mid-July last year.
Sussex Police said officers were informed of his disappearance in late August 2018, with a public and media appeal launched for information.
The force said on Tuesday that Portuguese officers had discovered a body near the town of Picha.
The Portuguese police, who are leading the investigation, are treating the case as murder.
Officers from Portugal’s Policia Judiciaria force confirmed today human remains have been found “hidden” in woodland.
Local PJ chief Valter Constantino told local media the body had been “well hidden”.
“We strongly believe the remains are those of the missing British man but we can only confirm this with the results of the autopsy,” he said.
“All theories are being looked at. The investigation has been ongoing for more than a year and has led us to the discovery of this body.
“As well as the body, possible evidence was recovered from a property.”
Mr Eldridge travelled to Portugal in January last year, saying he was going to work on a house near Coimbra, Sussex police said.
He also contacted a UK-based firm about potential work back in the UK on July 26 2018.
Detectives from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team and officers from the National Crime Agency have been working on the case alongside counterparts in Portugal.
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Detective Chief Inspector Chris Friday, of Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “Our inquiries, supporting those of the Portuguese investigators, gave us cause to believe that Joel had come to harm at the hands of others while in Portugal.
“We understand that further tests are needed to confirm that the body is that of Joel, but we suspect this to be the case and we have updated his family about this development.
“Our thoughts are with them at this sad time.”
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