A missing Lithuanian’s body remained undiscovered 40ft up a tree at a golf club in Dorset with golfers playing nearby for three years, it was revealed yesterday.
It was only when a dog being walked at Meyrick Park golf club emerged from a bush with a human arm that police descended on the course near Bournemouth last Monday.
More remains were found that day, and the following day, a spot 40ft up in the branches was located as the place where the man died.
Incredibly, police at the scene were then approached by a man who lived near the golf course who told police he had found bones at the spot last year, but took them home and did not inform anyone or call police.
Now, the body has been identified as that of Jurij Sliachtecov, a 21-year-old Lithuanian, who was first reported missing in early May 2011.
Mr Sliachtecov first went missing the previous month, and initially, police and his friends believed he had returned to his native Lithuania as he had taken his passport. He was last seen on an evening out with friends in Bournemouth in late April 2011.
The long-running appeal for information about his whereabouts involved a feature on the Lithuanian version of TV programme Crimewatch, and extensive appeals in eastern Europe.
But eventually police in Dorset concluded that he had not returned home, with border officials and his family confirming they had not seen him or he had not entered the country.
Then the gruesome discovery was made last week, and police gradually realised the spot in a copse on the golf course was where Mr Sliachtecov had been all along.
A cause of death has not yet been established for the 21-year-old, and while his identification has not yet formally been made, a spokesman for Dorset police said they believed the body was that of the missing Lithuanian. His family and the Dorset coroner have been informed and an inquest is expected to open and adjourn later this week.
Police said they do not believe the cause of death to be suspicious at this stage. The local man, who is in his 40s, is being spoken to by police. He arrived at the site on Tuesday, a day after the first remains were found, with two bones wrapped in a clear plastic bag and told police he found them ‘months ago’ in the same area.