The grieving parents of Sydney man Matthew Leveson have laid flowers at the site where remains that likely belong to their son were found.
Mark and Faye Leveson never gave up on finding Matthew after he went missing in September 2007.
“We’ve had to fight for nine-and-a-half years to get to this day, to bring our son home so our other two sons didn’t have to go through the rest of their life if we passed and we hadn’t found Matty,” Mrs Leveson said on Thursday.
Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin told reporters the bones found on Wednesday were human and police strongly believed they belong to Matthew.
“I can’t say that with 100 per cent confidence until the forensic examination is carried out, but the circumstances in which we’ve found these remains lead us to believe that they are Matthew Leveson,” he said.
“It’s been a long journey for the family in their efforts to find their son and hopefully this will bring them some relief.
“We hope the Levesons will soon be able to properly – and respectfully – say goodbye to Matthew.”
The 20-year-old was last seen leaving Sydney’s ARQ nightclub with his boyfriend at the time, Michael Atkins, on September 23, 2007.
Atkins was acquitted of Matthew’s murder in 2009 and gave evidence at a recent coronial inquest into Mr Leveson’s disappearance.
He led police to the area of bushland in the Royal National Park south of Sydney last November after he was granted immunity from prosecution for perjury and contempt of court relating to evidence he gave at the inquest, in return for information leading to the discovery of Mr Leveson’s body.
The search for Mr Leveson was the third in six months, after police and the Levesons searched the area in November and January.
“[Atkins] could have ended this nine years, eight months and eight days ago and he chose not to,” Mrs Leveson said.
“He chose to hide in Queensland and let our family suffer.
“He never came down, he never had to watch us dig, to watch every single day. [Every] scoop of dirt, [wondering] if Matty was going to be under that.”
An ongoing inquest into the death of Mr Leveson is scheduled to resume in August.