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14 December 2016, 09:28
The family of missing Medway man Ben Savage have issued a statement regarding his disappearance.
Ben, 18, did not return home following a night out in Chatham and was reported missing on the morning of Tuesday 6 December 2016.
His mother Tara has now issued the following statement on behalf of herself, his father Martin, brother Luke and the rest of their family.
"Myself, Martin, Luke and the rest of Ben’s family would like to thank the emergency services, coastguard, volunteers and general public for their overwhelming support in the search for Ben.
"After an extensive review of CCTV footage, we are coming to terms with the likelihood that Ben fell in the River Medway during the early hours of Tuesday morning. Based on the temperature of the water, the river currents and Ben’s level of consciousness when entering the river, we have to assume that he would have been unable to swim to safety.
"This is a heartbreaking time for everyone and so we, Ben’s family, now ask for some time and space to grieve.
"We would again like to thank the public for their overwhelming efforts searching for Ben. It is now time to hand the search over completely to the coastguard, who continue to work tirelessly searching the river.
"Our focus is also on the ongoing police investigation into this incident and the hours leading up to Ben’s disappearance. If anyone has any information about his final evening, please contact Kent Police on 101 quoting reference 06-0198."
CCTV footage of Ben's last known movements show him walking onto Sun Pier, Chatham, at 3.16am on Tuesday 6 December 2016. He is not seen to return.
Detective Inspector Chris Greenstreet of Kent Police said: "Tragically, the most likely explanation for Mr Savage’s disappearance is that he entered the river. The evidence is compelling when you also consider that it would be very out of character for him to go missing and to not contact his family or friends.
"We have kept his immediate family informed throughout the investigation and I would like to pay tribute to them for how dignified and supportive they have been.
"They have now requested privacy during this difficult time.
"I would also like to thank everyone who has helped to raise awareness of the appeal to locate Mr Savage and our thoughts are with them also."