Mystery of man who disappeared 23 years ago from Cleethorpes beach is solved
THE mystery of a man who disappeared from Cleethorpes beach 23 years ago has finally been solved.
The family of Michael Sutherland say they finally have closure now advances in forensic science have enabled police to identify his body.
After apparently taking his life on Cleethorpes beach in 1989, Mr Sutherland was pronounced missing.
Unbeknown to his family and local police, his body washed up on Weybourne beach, in Norfolk, 18 days later.
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Despite a six-month investigation there, the body was never identified – leaving villagers to hold a poignant funeral at Weybourne cemetery in April 1990.
Mr Sutherland was then buried in an unmarked grave.
Last year – thanks to advances in forensic science – police exhumed the body of the unknown man and matched DNA to that of a member of Mr Sutherland's family, bringing an end to the mystery.
Now his sister, Ann Stockton, 67, of Cleethorpes, is planning to make the 118-mile journey to Norfolk with other family members to put him to rest.
She has organised a dedication service at Weybourne's All Saints Church on November 1.
Mrs Stockton, who will read a eulogy at the service, said: "It is a relief for the family to finally have some closure after 23 years.
"DNA is a wonderful thing and forensic science is now so advanced that I would urge anybody who is in the same situation not to give up hope. I'm hoping to hold a service at our local church after Christmas for Michael's family and friends."
Mr Sutherland, who lived in Grimsby, was 34 when he went missing. He had a history of mental health problems.
In the aftermath of his disappearance, his family made heartfelt appeals in the Grimsby Telegraph for anyone who had any information about his whereabouts to come forward with evidence.
Det Chief Inspector Andy Guy, from Norfolk, and Suffolk's major investigation team, said officers have been taking a fresh look at the region's missing persons files since May last year.
He said it would not have been standard practice to collect DNA before 1995, which is why the body was exhumed last April.