THE family of a missing man whose body was discovered near a motorway in the Lothians have paid tribute to those who helped look for him.
Relatives of Matthew Elmer issued a statement thanking community members for their support during an operation to trace the 23-year-old.
Police confirmed yesterday that his body was found close to the M8 in Livingston on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr Elmer’s death is believed to be non-suspicious and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.
However, officers said they were working to determine exactly what happened to him and have appealed for those with information to get in touch.
In a statement which was issued through Police Scotland, Mr Elmer’s family said: “We wish to thank the local community and communities further afield for their efforts in tracing Matthew.
“We especially wish to thank Matthew’s friends and relatives for all their support and their efforts to find him.
“We would also like to thank Police Scotland for their ongoing support since Matthew’s disappearance.
“Our family now need time to come to terms with what has happened to Matthew, and ask for privacy so that we may grieve.”
Earlier this month, the News told how Mr Elmer’s mother, Cathy Dwyer, 57, watched him leave her Livingston home on February 13.
He was wearing only light clothing on a bitterly cold evening and, unusually for him, did not say where he was going.
When Mr Elmer failed to return, police launched a search which drew hundreds of volunteers.
His mother said the former James Young High School pupil, who worked for Lloyds Bank at Edinburgh Park, had been generally happy in life but seemed unsettled in the days leading up to his disappearance.
Mr Elmer’s sister, Bethan, 21, and housemate Angus Sinclair, 23, described him as “outgoing, funny and confident”. They were not aware of anything that was particularly bothering him.
Chief Inspector Stevie Dolan, West Lothian area commander, said: “Our condolences are with Matthew’s family and friends at this difficult time. We will continue to provide them with all the necessary support and assistance they require. I want to thank the local community for all their efforts during our extensive search operation to trace Matthew.
“While Matthew’s death is non-suspicious, we’re still working to establish the full circumstances surrounding his disappearance and we’d urge anyone who believes that they may have seen him since February 13, or has information about his movements during this time, to get in touch.”
Those with information can contact police on 101.