A STUDENT’S heartbroken family is clinging to hope he is still alive – a month after his mysterious disappearance.
But despite a huge public response to police appeals, there have been no confirmed sightings of 21-year-old Frenchman Antoine Maury since he was went missing in Holyrood Park last month.
In an exclusive interview with the Evening News, his devastated mother, Laura Vesterinen Maury, has revealed that life for her family would be “unbearable” without the hope that he may yet be found safe.
Detectives have scoured the 650-acre gorse-covered park but have found no sign of him among its many hills, crags and glens, while CCTV has yielded no leads.
Specialist teams have also used sonar probes on Duddingston Loch while officers have carried out door-to-door inquiries alongside exhaustive searches of the area – to no avail.
And with no clue to Antoine’s fate, his mother is urging police to widen their search yet further amid fears he may no longer be in Scotland. Laura, who has returned from France to continue the search, believes he may even have travelled across the border.
She said: “Police are still searching in Holyrood Park because this is where Antoine was last seen.
“But what if he got in a car and somebody brought him somewhere outside Scotland? Every day that goes by and he is not found is a good day. If he is found in the park it means that he is dead. I want to think that he is alive and we will recover him alive.”
Antoine suddenly left friends at Edinburgh College’s Milton Road Campus on October 24 at around 10pm.
Less than an hour later, a topless man matching his description was spotted in Duddingston Village.
This is the last known sighting of Antoine, a six-foot tall white man with a medium build, short brown hair and beard, bright green eyes and a fair complexion.
Laura said: “My daughter Emilia is very brave and has managed to return to her studies.
“We try to stay positive and chase away any thought that could put us away from thinking that Antoine is alive. We need to keep believing that Antoine is alive somewhere. Otherwise life would just be unbearable.”
Antoine went missing without money and his passport or any other form of identification, his family has revealed.
Laura has previously said that there is no possibility he would stay away for so long of his “own free will” because he would not wish to cause his family so much pain.
“Antoine is a great guy,” she said. “Lots of his friends – past and present – have spoken of his kindness.
“He has been told he is the last person that anyone would want to hurt. But he does have very firm opinions and could be stubborn at times.”
The 21-year-old had declared himself an atheist and was a staunch defender of women’s rights though his mother has insisted he was not an “activist type”.
His family has also spoken of his taste for “heavy and dark metal” in the hope that this information might help with the search. “His interest in these types of music was intellectual and emotional,” they said. “He wanted to start a band in Edinburgh, but had not been able to find the right musicians.”