Anthony Stammers, 27, was last seen leaving his family home in Mile End Road, Colchester, at about 10am on May 27, 2012.
The talented musician sent a text message to his mum, Julie, at 11am asking her to make sure his trousers were ready for his grandfather’s funeral the next day.
But when he did not arrive at Colchester Crematorium for the service on May 28, his parents reported him missing to police.
Despite widespread searches of the town and appeals for information, Anthony has not been located.
In the last decade, we have followed up potential sightings of Anthony in areas such as Colchester, Staffordshire, Birmingham, Doncaster and London.
Unfortunately, none have yielded any significant lines of enquiry.
Friday 27 May, 2022, marks ten years since he was last seen, and his parents Julie and Robert are appealing for anyone who has seen Anthony, is with him or knows where he is to please get in touch.
Living a dual existence
Dad Rob said: “We really live a sort of dual existence. One the one hand, we know we have to live ‘normal life’; there are things to do and bills to pay and we have two other children who deserve to live their lives to the full. And on the other hand, we know that Anthony is missing and the pain that goes alongside that can rear its head at any time.”
Mum Julie added: “There were, and still are, days when you feel like you don’t want to get up, but I remember what Rob has said to me before, that today could be the day we find him. That’s what keeps us going; that and very dear family and friends.
“My heart also aches for our other two children so much because it is their brother who is missing, and they were very close before Anthony went missing. “His sister, Cathy, was always like a mini-mother to Anthony and his brother James had grown very close to him too.
“For a long time, one of us always had to be in the house because we couldn’t bear the thought of Anthony coming back and no one being here. You do move on from that and you put other things in place to make sure nothing is missed when you are out.”
On the day Anthony went missing, he was carrying a record holder-style bag and spoke to his mum as he left, telling her he was going out for a while and was likely to stay overnight at a friend’s house before attending his grandfather’s funeral planned for the next day.
Julie said: “For some reason, I really don’t know why, on that occasion I clocked him head to toe and took in everything that he was wearing.
“He texted me asking to make sure his trousers were ready for the funeral – and that was the last contact we had.”
Enquiries found Anthony had withdrawn money from a nearby petrol station during the morning and that is his last-known bank transaction.
“When he missed the funeral the next day, we reported him missing,” Julie added.
“Honestly, the police couldn’t have been better; they took what I was telling them seriously and you could tell this was a priority from the word go.
“Through the work we’ve done with the Missing People charity you do hear of some police forces not dealing with missing people well but I can honestly say, the police in Colchester were and still are absolutely brilliant.
“I know it was a job for them and they may have been working on so many other things but we really felt they did all they could for us.”
Rob added: “We co-ordinated our efforts with the police, who were searching night and day. I spent most nights out driving around Colchester, just looking, leaving posters.
“I did that for about six months, always in co-ordination with the police, and at the end of that, we really just concluded that he wasn’t in Colchester.”
Anthony’s family have never given up searching for him and our investigation into his disappearance has never closed.
We routinely review national databases for traces of bank transactions, international movement, NHS information and employment.
Julie said: “You never move on, you don’t really even ‘deal with it’, you ‘get through it’; that’s what we do.
“Today could be the day we find him. He is such a kind and gentle soul, very socially aware and is one of those people who really respected and loved the older generation. If we were ever at an event, you just knew he would be the one with older group, listening to the stories and taking it all in.”
Ten year anniversary
To mark ten years since Anthony was last seen, the family are completing a series of fundraising events to raise money for the charity, Missing People, from which they have received huge support.
Anthony’s older brother, James, who lives in Bristol has recently appeared in the Channel 4 show, SAS Who Dares Wins through which he hoped to raise the profile of Anthony’s disappearance.
On Friday, he will set off from Kingston-upon-Thames, where Anthony attended university, to run through the day and night to arrive in Colchester Castle Park on Saturday morning.
His arrival will coincide with the final throes of a fundraising drive by Julie and Rob, who are aiming to walk 50km in ten days, ending with the Colchester Park Run, which takes place every Saturday.
All proceeds will go to the charity.
Julie said: “When you’re a part of this club – the club that nobody wants to be a part of – you find that, really, these are the only people who really understand how you are feeling.
“Missing People has been a real support for so many families like ours and we really want to do as much as we can to help them with funding.”
They had set a fundraising target of £1,000, which has already been well surpassed.