The family of a Doncaster man who was last seen when he boarded a train to London almost nine years ago say they are still holding out hope that he is alive and well.
Andrew Gosden was 14-years-old when he left his Balby home, took £200 from his bank account, before getting on a train to London Kings Cross station where he was last seen.
Since his disappearance in September 2007, his parents, Kevin and Glenis have exhausted every resource at their disposal to try and find Andrew, and their most recent attempt saw the family appeal for Andrew’s return on BBC One’s Panorama.
And while Kevin says his appearance on the programme two weeks ago has so far failed to produce any solid leads on the whereabouts of Andrew, now aged 23, the 50-year-old says he still believes that Andrew could be alive somewhere.
Kevin, of Littlmore Lane, Balby said: “We do these things, like Panorama, in the hope that he will see or hear of it somehow.
“After so much time has passed, and so many things have changed it’s hard to believe that he’ll ever make contact, I think it’s pretty unlikely, but we still have hope.
“And that’s the key thing actually is continuing to have that hope. I wrote a poem last year about our hope that Andrew would be found one day and read it at an event by the charity Missing People last year, and they’ve now used it as the basis for a charity single with the families of other missing people that got to number 10 in the Amazon charts.
“I think if Andrew was here now, or if he was to hear about it I don’t think he’d be surprised that we were doing things like this for charity and to try and find him because he knows the type of people we are.
“We just want him to get in touch, whatever’s happened, whereever he is we want him to know that we just want to know he’s okay.”
Commenting on South Yorkshire Police’s investigation into Andrew’s disappearance, Kevin says people have asked whether he thinks the police should have devoted a similar amount of resources to that of high-profile missing person cases such as that of Ben Needham, who went missing during a family holiday from the Greek island of Kos when he was just 21 months old.
Kevin says he does not think the police have failed in terms of resources given to the investigation, but adds that he thinks police should have acted differently in the initial stages of the investigation.
He said: “If they had spent more time looking at the CCTV things could maybe have been different. It took a month for them to get the CCTV of Andrew at King’s Cross, and during that time they were looking at us and our family, even though eye-witnesses on the train he boarded said they’d seen him get on to that train, and what time.
“I think because police are so used to investigating crimes, they assume that someone must be at fault, even in cases like this one.
“That’s why I think there should be a separate organisation outside of the police that is dedicated to looking for missing people.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “We will continue to follow up any leads or new reports that relate to the disappearance of Andrew Gosden and if anyone has information that could help, I’d urge them to get in touch with police.”