Malaysia backpacker Gareth Huntley: Body confirmed by DNA tests
- 7 June 2014
- From the section London
A body found in the Malaysian jungle has been confirmed as London backpacker Gareth Huntley.
The Foreign Office said DNA results showed the body discovered on Tioman Island on Wednesday was that of 34-year-old Mr Huntley.
The cause of death has not been determined, Malaysian Police have said.
Mr Huntley, from Cricklewood, north London, disappeared on the island on 27 May, when he is believed to have gone on a trek to a waterfall.
A family spokesman said: "There are no words that can capture the devastation we feel right now, no words that can capture the kindness, warmth and spirit that Gareth exuded, no words that can describe the void he will leave in all of the lives he touched.
"Gareth lived every minute of his life as fully as he could, never without a smile and always with others in his heart. You will never leave our hearts, Gareth."
His mother, Janet Southwell, had joined in the search for her son and gave a DNA sample after his body was found.
The body was discovered in a pond within 100yds (91m) of the Juara Turtle project, where he had been living and working as a volunteer. More than 100 people took part in the search.
The Malaysian authorities had been searching along the route to a waterfall where Mr Huntley was believed to have gone on a trek, but they found his body close to a kayak storage area on their way back.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokeswoman said: "Malaysian Police have now confirmed that the body found on Tioman island is Gareth Huntley.
"The Foreign Office will remain in close contact with the Malaysian authorities and our staff continue to support Gareth's family at this tragic time."
The local police chief, senior deputy commissioner Datuk Sharifuddin Ab Ghani, said earlier this week that the body was decomposing and was found clothed in shorts, socks and shoes, but with no shirt.
A mobile phone was also found nearby but there was no sign of any personal documentation.
Mr Huntley, who is originally from Leeds, was on a sabbatical from his job in the City.
His family mounted a high-profile campaign to intensify the search for him, which led to Prime Minister David Cameron speaking to his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak about the case.