Human remains found in woodland outside Bristol are suspected to be those of missing local icon, DJ Derek.
Derek Serpell-Morris, 73, was last seen at the Criterion Pub in Bristol in July 2015, and has been the subject of an exhaustive search by local authorities and community members over the last eight months.
Avon and Somerset police have said there is strong evidence that human remains found in the Patchway area of South Gloucestershire on Thursday were of Morris.
DCI Matthew Iddon said: “Earlier today we spoke with the family of Derek Serpell-Morris to inform them of this latest development. While we’re not yet in a position to confirm the remains are of Derek, we strongly believe this to be the case due to personal items found at the scene.
“This is a very distressing time for Derek’s family who’ve been carrying out an exhaustive campaign to locate him.”
A postmortem examination will be carried out by a Home Office pathologist to identify the body and determine the cause of death in the coming weeks.
Serpell-Morris’s great-niece Jennifer Griffiths said: “As soon as I heard the news last night I was convinced it was him. I have spoken to the rest of the family and we all feel the same way.
“In a way it would be closure for us if this was Derek but at the same time it would be awful; it would be the worst-case scenario. He used to get the bus to Cribbs Causeway all the time and we always felt that he could have ended up around that area.
“It just feels that we wasted all that time looking in the wrong places when he was there all the time. We are waiting to hear from the police. We are just waiting for that phone call. It just feels awful, we are all sitting here expecting the worse.”
Known for playing rocksteady, reggae, ska, dancehall and soul, DJ Derek had been a resident of St Paul’s in Bristol since 1978 and had been DJing since his mid-30s.