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Police discover items of interest' in Bert dig

PUBLISHED: 18:14 13 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:41 23 August 2010

Karl Hotchkiss

Karl Hotchkiss

POLICE searching a house for the remains of a man who went missing 16 years ago have recovered some items of interest but no body. Karl Hotchkiss, who was formerly of Empress Road, Gravesend and also known as Bert, was 24 when he was last seen on April

SEARCH: Mike Fuller attends the scene where police are investigating Karl Hotchkiss’ disappearance.

POLICE searching a house for the remains of a man who went missing 16 years ago have recovered 'some items of interest' but no body.

Karl Hotchkiss, who was formerly of Empress Road, Gravesend and also known as Bert, was 24 when he was last seen on April 11, 1993.

Six years on, officers received intelligence that he could have been murdered, and after the case was re-opened again in February this year, evidence led police to begin searching a house in Jubilee Crescent, Gravesend last week. On Monday the search was completed and Detective Chief Inspector Dave Withers, of Kent Police, said that although no body had been found, some items of interest were recovered and are currently undergoing forensic examination.

He said: "The search of the house and garden has been completed and no body has been found.

"However, a number of items of interest have been discovered. I am unable to give further details of what these items are, other than to say that I am satisfied the work that has been carried out has progressed the investigation.

"The house will now be returned to the control of the local authority and I have updated Karl Hotchkiss's relatives with the result of the search.

"I would very much like to thank the residents of Jubilee Crescent and the surrounding area for their co-operation."

In the search police used specialist digging equipment and radar technology in the garden and the house to try and find evidence of any disturbed soil.

Last Wednesday Chief Constable Mike Fuller visited the scene. He said: "It is important that we never give up, in terms of researching and investigating old cases.

"It is very important that we bring closure to families, they want to know where Karl is, whether he is alive or not and that is why we attach so much importance to this investigation."

As the search began, his sister Kelly Hotchkiss, 39, who lives in Gravesend, said: "Ever since Bert went missing I have been in limbo.

"It's constant torment not knowing where he is. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about it.

"It's a part of my life I can not shut off until I know what happened."

Bert was last seen at the Old Manor Shades Public House, Manor Road, and the Station Inn Pub, now Bar 24 in Station Road, on April 11, 1993.

He was wearing black baggy tracksuit bottoms and green and black trainers, was 5ft 5in, proportionate build, had blue eyes, short brown spikey hair and had various tattoos and scars on his body.

Anyone with any information on his whereabouts should contact the incident room on 01634 884011.

Do you know what happened to Bert? Call the news team on 01474 320753.

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