Police have identified skeletal remains discovered on land near to the A13 as belonging to 63 year-old Michael Forrest who went missing more than eight years ago.
Mr Forrest, who had dementia, was last seen near his home in Ockleford Avenue, Chelmsford at around 8am on Tuesday, December 7 2010.
It is believed he had left his home and had been travelling by bus to the Lakeside shopping centre. He was reported missing after he failed to return home and subsequently missed two hospital appointments.
A missing person investigation was carried out involving more than 100 officers and members of staff.
More than 8,000 letters and missing posters were delivered to local residents and businesses, more than 700 letters and posters sent to drivers of vehicles known to been in the area at the time Mr Forrest was last sighted, and more than 200 house-to-house enquiries were carried out.
Officers obtained more than 50 witness statements, watched more than 250 hours of CCTV footage, and searched 26 separate areas, including the lake near to Lakeside.
However, not trace of Mr Forrest could be found.
Then, at around 11am on Friday, January 3 2019, workers carrying out work for Highways England near to the A126/A13 junction reported they had found a human skull.
The skull has been identified as belonging to be that of Mr Forrest.
His family have been told. Further searches were carried out in a wooded area between the A126/A13 junction and the Lakeside Sports Ground and the rest of Mr Forrest’s skeletal remains were discovered today (Tuesday, January 15).
Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, who led the investigation following the discovery, said: “Mr Forrest’s death is being treated as unexplained but there is no evidence anyone else was involved.
“This is a tragic discovery and my heart goes out to his family. I hope it will bring them some closure though and give them some answers about what happened to their loved one.”