He disappeared more than 15 years ago and his whereabouts have remained a mystery ever since. But today detectives investigating what happened to Kevin John Palmer revealed they're digging up a former pub in Hampshire as they search for his body. Andrew Pate reports
Police have appealed for anyone who knew Kevin Palmer in 1999 to come forward.
Detective Superintendent Paul Barton said: "Even after 15 years, the smallest piece of detail from a member of the public could prove to be an essential element in establishing a significant lead."
Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to contact the Hampshire Major Investigation Team at Southampton Central police station by phoning 101 and quoting Operation Arkholme. Anyone who wants to remain anonymous can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Detectives searching for Kevin John Palmer at a disused former pub in Fareham in Hampshire say he was last seen catching a taxi with two other men and they want to speak to the driver.
Detective Superintendent Paul Barton said: "The last known sighting of Mr Palmer was at the Abshot Country Club on the evening of 12th March 1999 when we believe he caught a taxi with two other men back to an address in Bishops Waltham."
He added: "En route it is suspected that Mr Palmer became involved in a fight with the other two passengers in Curbridge and was left there. I am really keen to trace the taxi driver from that night. Please contact detectives from the Operation Arkholme team at Southampton Central police station."
Hampshire Police said information which led them to a disused pub Fareham indicated that it was worth searching for the remains of a body.
Teams are working at a disused former pub, the Gordon Arms, in Gordon Road, Fareham.
A recent assessment of information received about the whereabouts of Kevin John Palmer prompted a line of enquiry, which has taken us to this address in Fareham.
We are not able to give more details about the source of this information because of sensitive and confidential circumstances. Nevertheless, the considered opinion of our detectives is that this information justifies a search for human remains within the garden of the former Gordon Arms pub."
– Detective Superintendent Paul Barton
DS Barton, who is the senior investigating officer on the case, warned that it wasn't certain that anything would be found.
The information is tangible enough to be examined in more detail at the scene - but it is in no way certain that any evidence will be found. Therefore, it's important for everyone involved with or affected by this case to be cautious with their expectations. Mr Palmer's immediate next-of-kin were informed by police in advance of this search beginning. I would like to thank the current owner of this property for his co-operation and understanding. No current or former residents of this address are under suspicion of any crimes."