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Family of missing Seven Sisters soldier say they are not giving up

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 23, 2013

By Gill Roberts

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THE family of a missing teenage soldier have said they will never give up hope until he is found.

Josh Thomas, from Seven Sisters, vanished in Rochester, Kent, during a night out with friends.

The 18-year-old, who is a soldier at the barracks in Chatham, was last seen by friends outside the City Wall pub in Rochester during the early hours of Wednesday, April 10.

Josh's dad, Gary Thomas, who lives in Heol y Waun, Seven Sisters, went up to Kent on Friday.

"It was horrible going but the worst was leaving," he said. "It was quite distressing.

"We met with everyone, with the Army, and we had a briefing with the military.

"We were escorted around and we walked around the route. It was well organised with both the Army and police."

Josh's aunt Bev Bowman said they were holding out for any news. "It is terrible," she said.

"You go to bed with a little bit of hope and you wake up and it is totally gut wrenching. We are still in the same boat. But we are never giving up until we know any different.

"We are grieving in a certain way and then you feel guilty about doing that. Then something will give you a boost with some hope.

"The thing is, it is very unlike Josh not to have been in touch.

"That is in the forefront of your mind. It is the worst possible scenario. He may have lost his memory. It just feels like it is not real."

Ms Bowman added that they had been really grateful for the support they had received from Seven Sisters and the people of Kent.

"The people up there are digging up photographs," she said. "The area has been fantastic with all the support."

Nearly 3,000 people have joined a Facebook group called Help find Josh Thomas in support of the appeal.

Detectives, who have already released a CCTV image of Josh, captured before he went missing, have issued a fresh appeal to two BMX riders seen in Corporation Street minutes after the teenager was last sighted.

Officers are also focusing their attention on the area around Gas House Road. The final sighting of Josh on CCTV was on a traffic island in the middle of the A2 outside the Crown pub.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Rik Spicer, of Kent Police, said: "We are thankful for the media coverage in helping trace the driver of the black hatchback car seen on CCTV stopping on the bridge. That person has been helping us with our enquiries. We now are focusing our attention on known last CCTV sightings of Josh heading towards Gas House Road. We know that two males on BMX bikes were cycling past that area, along Corporation Street, just minutes after sight of Josh is lost.

"I am appealing to those two people who were in that area shortly after 1am to come forward and let us know if you saw Josh and where."

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