Documentary series following the search for missing people. Just six weeks after his wedding, 28-year-old Darren vanishes, apparently into thin air.
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PHONE RINGS OUT
Every two minutes, someone in Britain is reported missing.
You feel total panic.
Is there anything in the address
that shows any sort of planned absences, any notes?
There are hundreds of different reasons as to why people
might be missing from home.
-Concerns are growing for the welfare of
-a missing Darlington pensioner...
Losing time can be catastrophic.
The key for each investigation is to piece together
the missing person's last-known movements.
Some crumb, a sighting, that's what we're after. Proof of life.
What is going on in your head? Where are you going?
What are you going to go and do next?
Following Durham Police,
cameras capture everyone's perspective
minute by minute, as the cases unfold.
He saw the male at the cemetery.
-Was seen leaving the cemetery and turning right.
For loved ones left at home, everything hangs in the balance.
You see people missing all the time, but you don't actually feel it,
do you, until it actually happens to somebody who's close?
And it's the worst feeling in the world.
It doesn't matter how close you are to somebody, everybody has secrets.
-I've found him! I've just found him! I've just found him now!
I want to know where my son is.
I need to be with him.
PHONE RINGS OUT
-Police control room. Can I help?
-I'm just ringing up to report a missing person.
-What's the circumstance?
-My husband, he's been missing since Saturday night.
We'd just had an argument.
He just stormed out in a huff, like a little kid,
and he's got in his car and I've never seen him since.
The only reason why I haven't reported it any earlier,
I thought he might've been out with workmates or whatever.
But it's out of character, really,
because that's why I was waiting to see if he turned up at work today,
because it's a new job and he's working with his brother.
Does he sort of take drugs, alcohol, anything like that?
No, no, because, like, we've got the baby now, so...
He's not really a big drinker. He doesn't really go out much.
We've only been married six weeks.
OK. I've made a log, we'll get an officer to come around and see you
within the next hour or so.
28-year-old Darren has now been missing for three days.
An officer is dispatched to follow up on his wife's call
and to take a statement.
I'll give you a bit of a run-through of what we know so far.
A call came into police just after 12:30 yesterday afternoon
from the wife, she's called Rebecca.
She reported that she hadn't seen her husband since
approximately 9pm on Saturday 27th August.
At that time, she accounted that they'd been at their home address
in Aycliffe and that there'd been a very minor argument between them.
He'd stormed out of the address and left
in a vehicle and hadn't been in contact with her since.
Yesterday morning, she admitted that the account she'd given initially
to police wasn't correct and that, in fact, on Saturday night,
the pair of them had travelled to an address in Darlington,
um, for a barbecue at a friend's address.
And at some point around the 9:00 mark, we believe,
he's walked out and he's left.
He hasn't actually been seen to get into the car and leave
by anybody present, but the car's gone,
so they've made an assumption that he's left in the vehicle.
I've never dealt with one where, um...
the reporting person's lied to us to start off with.
It's extremely frustrating when you've been working on it for
however many hours or days,
and then you find out that it's all been wasted
because you've been looking in completely the wrong area.
And time has passed and you could have been really honing in
your resources to try and find the individual.
And I was thinking, the barbecue at Darlington,
I think working backwards from that point is really important.
So if we can go there, find out who was there,
do the house-to-house, establish whether there's CCTV.
Just actually try and find out when his car moved.
Darren's wife first reported that he went missing from his house
in Newton Aycliffe, but her new account means that it was
actually five miles south, at a barbecue in Darlington.
The first to be questioned is the hostess of the barbecue.
What's your gut instinct telling you?
I feel ill. It's not like him.
-So, what's your gut telling you?
-I don't know.
Summat's happened to him, hasn't it?
I'm just thinking the worst, I think.
I mean, we don't know. We do not know what's happened to him.
He may be at a mate's house, getting his head down.
Darren was seen leaving the barbecue in his car
at some point between 9pm and 10pm.
The police know they have a good chance of locating him
if they can track down his vehicle.
We've got a miss per and we've had no proof of life.
And I'm just wondering if we can do some ANPR enquiries,
both national and internal, just to see if he's hit anything.
-It hasn't returned anything for today.
-Still no reads at all nationally?
It's just odd that his car hasn't pinged at all.
It could be that Darren's vehicle is somewhere between
the barbecue address in Darlington and his hometown.
The quickest way to search is by air.
Hello. I'm trying to get
a deployment for a missing-from-home we've got at the moment.
It is, it's a miss per. We've got an area we need to deploy the bird.
The family have informed the police that there is a particular route
Darren always takes when he drives from Darlington to his house.
And it looks like behind the hotel, Ricknall Lane, Lodge Lane,
then he would've gone onto Elston Lane, Bishopton Lane
and then over to Great Burden.
We need to do a search from Darlington to the Aycliffe home address,
specifically concentrating on the Sedgefield back roads.
The delay in reporting him missing,
which virtually amounted to three days, is far too long.
If I know somebody's disappeared within the last hour,
then the opportunities for somebody within that hour
to go somewhere else are quite restrictive.
However, if it's three days or four days,
then who knows where they may have gone?
Widening your parameters means more work to be done,
there's a larger number of cameras to be checked,
there's a huge geographical area that we need to check.
If you tell me that somebody was at a bus stop
on the high street at 3:15,
then that's a lot easier than
"Well, they left this party four days ago
"and I don't know which way they went or where they went."
Oh, it was awful.
From when I found out, it was just, like...
"You're joking, aren't you?"
He's only gone to a barbecue for a drink and he's...
just disappeared, like that?
I was just, as you do, looking through Facebook,
and I seen a message saying, "Our Darren, get yourself back home".
I thought somebody was just messing on.
I thought it was just a prank.
I phoned Rebecca and she said,
"Oh, yeah, he's...he's gone off in his car.
"He's like... I haven't seen him since Saturday."
I was like, "Since Saturday and I just found out now?"
So that was it, really. That's all I really knew,
until, like, they were going to phone the police
to report him missing.
Oh, I was racking my brains where he could be.
The thing is, you can disappear quite easily,
going down them country lanes. There aren't any cameras.
You can go past two cameras
and then you're lost after that, down the country lanes.
It's easy to get lost.
There are 50 square miles of country roads to search
between the party address and Darren's home.
The police are hoping that someone local may have seen him.
We're just looking for a missing-from-home.
You haven't seen any suspicious vehicles or anything parked
-down here, have you?
-I haven't, no.
-Unless they drive up here, I wouldn't see anything.
Basically, we think he's taken the back route from Darlington
back towards Aycliffe.
He hasn't returned back to Aycliffe,
so we're assuming he's parked up somewhere maybe.
-You haven't seen anything suspicious?
-I haven't seen anything.
I don't know if next door might have seen something.
OK, I'll go and give them a knock. Thank you.
Because of the nature of
the complexity of the enquiries involved in this,
this is probably the biggest missing person case
I've been involved with in this force.
The access point down to there,
there was a lot of cobwebs and stuff.
It's like being in limbo, that you just don't know
and you just can't find where that person is
that means so much.
And...it's like desperation,
that you're racking your brains all the time.
It just takes over your life.
I'd always feel responsible, no matter what. He's my brother.
He'd feel the same way as me.
He is a child at heart and it's just his wit and, um...
the way he comes out with things and his one-liners and stuff.
A big child at heart. I mean, he was when he was at the wedding.
The way he was messing on, fun-fighting and stuff.
Never stopped smiling all day.
He had the biggest smile on his face you can imagine.
From walking in that door...
..to having our last drink.
And he just loved his suit. His gold suit.
We follow the basics of
the investigation and we're getting nothing.
I would expect that some crumb will come out.
A sighting, a phone call from somebody who's spoken to them.
There will be, like, a proof of life.
And that's we're after, proof of life.
But it's almost like he'd just
disappeared off the face of the earth.
A new shift is starting at Bishop Auckland station.
And with all enquiries so far exhausted,
the attention shifts back to the wife's changing account.
-..That sort of time.
His wife, presently witness, but increasingly suspicious.
Her account has changed on two or three occasions.
For example, she said things such as, "I hate him."
And we said, "Well, why do you hate him?"
"Because he's been missing,
"because he's done this to you, the emotional turmoil?"
"No, because he's drink-drove on the night."
And she's become quite hostile when we've started to question her.
And equally, she doesn't want us to go to her house.
Every time we've contacted her to date,
she's insisted on coming to the police station.
It's becoming increasingly suspicious,
particularly with the lack of proof of life. Um...
If she's obviously changing accounts on several occasions
and gone hostile, it begs the question, what has happened?
-What is she not telling us?
The really, really suspicious might question whether
the person who has actually been reported missing
is actually the victim of a domestic, er...homicide.
And that the delay in reporting it to us
is deliberate so that evidence can be concealed
so that steps can be taken to, you know,
to lay a false trail or to actually hide or conceal what's gone on.
So that's probably the most sinister aspect of that delay.
It was a fiery relationship.
They liked to argue a bit, but they loved each other.
That's the way they went on, really.
She used to shout, "What have you hoovered up for?
"I've already hoovered up!"
"Yeah, but it needed hoovering up again."
"It doesn't need hoovering up, I've done it!"
Little daft things like that. It was just the way she was.
I think sometimes she doesn't realise how she's doing it.
She's just irate. She just shouts.
"I'm the boss."
Officers have been asked to talk with Darren's wife again.
Have you got any further information today, Rebecca, or not?
You've nothing at all?
Because bearing in mind, you've got a lot of resources looking for him.
If there's anything you think of, even something really,
really small, let us know.
Because that could change our thought process,
you know what I mean?
And we can concentrate our efforts on that.
All we want to do, Rebecca, is bring him home to you and the bairn.
That's all we want. Right?
Any information, even if you think it's going to get him into trouble,
you need to let us know.
Darren's been missing for five days.
Inspector Neal Armstrong calls a meeting with CID.
Not to have a single lead, which is unusual, really unusual,
and the last person who saw them alive has lied to us,
that's when I approach CID and say, "We need some assistance now
"to establish what this person knows and what they don't know".
I've been in the CID for nearly ten years and I think this is
probably only the second time in that period of time
that I've been involved in a missing-from-home case.
We spoke to Rebecca again. Just no emotion from her.
She basically just said, you know, she's got to carry on with her life.
-And how did she present to you, then?
Very cold for somebody whose husband's been missing five days.
Initially, she said her belief was that he was dead
and he had been for two days.
And again, that was prior to her
reporting him missing to us, wasn't it?
Did she elaborate as to why she thought that?
Just because the fact he hadn't been seen.
-She couldn't elaborate any further, could she?
Just no emotion, very cold.
It's now up to CID to find out what really happened on the day
As detectives, we've had that enhanced level of training
that we will ask those awkward questions,
and not everybody likes being asked those awkward questions,
but unfortunately, sometimes,
that's the only way to get to the truth.
They went to this barbecue, it was a small function,
nobody actually saw Darren leave the barbecue.
And we know there was potentially a domestic incident there, as well.
Possible even a minor assault involved, as well.
So we just need to get that
bottomed out and see what people actually saw.
See you later.
Detectives Emma and Claire head to the barbecue address in Darlington,
and begin by searching the property.
CID enlist the help of beat officers
to acquire CCTV evidence from the day Darren went missing.
From his bank records, they know he went to a Tesco in his hometown.
We're here to double-check the CCTV
for Saturday night just gone for the ATM.
-It was the 27th, wasn't it?
-Yeah, the 27th.
The actual transaction was...
Emma and Claire have finished the search.
Now they have to dig deeper into the hostess' account of what happened.
I need to know everything.
The only way I can help you is if you tell me everything
and let me be the judge of what I do and do not need to know.
-So what time did the party start, then?
And did he come here for 2:00?
Yeah, they were here for 2:00 because Becky brought the birthday cake.
So what were they like when they first got here?
All right. They were fine.
Was there a sign that either of them
-had had a drink when they first arrived?
-Not at all?
-No. None of them.
They weren't having a drink.
-But then...Darren said that his mam would have the baby,
-so then Darren went to go and drop the baby off...
..and then come back with a box of Stella
and two bottles of wine for Becky.
At Tesco, the police are examining the CCTV to learn more about
Darren's movements when he wasn't at the party.
They know he was wearing jeans and a white shirt.
-There, that's him there.
-Is that him?
-Yeah, you're 100% that's him, yeah?
-I'd say so.
Do you want me to see if we can trace him around the store?
If he's come in, we should be able to follow him on the CCTV.
-There he is, he comes in.
-Yeah, he comes into the store.
-There you go.
-There he is.
-So he's walking along there.
He'll be going to the beer aisle, 100%.
-There he is.
So he's actually gone up...
-Spirit and wine.
-He's gone up the wine aisle.
-So... And there he is.
-He's got a bottle.
Two bottles of spirit... two bottles of wine in his hand.
-And that's the...
-That's the imports, isn't it?
Yeah, it's the Budweiser. That's where the crates of Bud are.
-What's he got?
-That's a white box. That is either...
-Stella, or it's that...
No, that's 100% Stella, yeah.
Hopefully, he goes to self-serve to pay.
-So there you go. You can clearly identify him there.
He's got his Bag for Life.
-Crate of Stella.
-That's Stella, isn't it?
-We don't get him outside at all, do we?
Not after he... Basically, after he leaves this shot here.
So at what time did he return, then?
He was gone about an hour, an hour and a half.
-So that makes it between 5 and 6.
Um...was he drinking any of Becky's wine?
I think so, yeah.
-So he was drinking wine as well?
He'd been drinking lager,
he'd been to the shop to get more Jack Daniels.
And he got some JD?
JD, fags and a scratchcard.
-Because he was over the moon because he'd won on the scratchcard.
-Did he say how much money he'd won?
-Not a clue.
Footage from the newsagents confirms Darren's movements
an hour on from the Tesco CCTV.
Perfect. Thank you.
-So have you recorded the initial footage of him in the shop?
-Right, let's have a look at this.
-This is outside.
There he is. Right, so that's 17:48 and 58 seconds.
The police have been told he left the party around 9:30pm.
So the hostess' account of the next four hours is critical.
How big was the bottle of JD?
-It was... Do you know one of the little ones, like that?
He'd had two of them. My husband was drinking them, as well.
-Oh, so, it's...
-It was between him and my husband.
I know they were talking, having a heart-to-heart in the garden
and they were talking about friends.
Him having no friends, or something like that.
-So who noticed that Darren had left?
-And how did you notice it?
-I went up to the toi...
Well, I thought...we thought because the way he'd left the room...
How'd he leave the room?
Just, like, as normal, as if he were going to the toilet.
So I've checked all the rooms, nothing, and that's when
I went to the front and that's when I noticed the car had gone.
And that's when I came in and I said, "Look, he has gone".
-What was Becky's reaction?
-She said, "What do you mean, he's gone?"
I said, "He's gone home, like, he's left you." Like...
We've had some information that, um...there's been a domestic
incident between the two of them while they were at your house.
-Did you hear any fallouts between them?
-Nothing at all?
-To me, they were just bantering
and they were being their normal selves.
That's why I didn't... If there was, I would... Straight away.
-Any physical contact between the two of them?
-No, no, no, nothing.
There was no big fight or nothing like that.
Back at Bishop Auckland station,
Emma and Claire report their findings to their boss, Tommy.
She said she hasn't seen an argument,
nobody's made reference to an argument.
The thing that just concerns me about that is that Rebecca is
saying that there was possibly a physical assault by Rebecca on him.
I said, "Was there any physical contact between the two of them?"
And she said no. Unless she's hiding it.
Would you be able to give her a ring? I know we've come back from her.
Ask her direct and just say, look, no-one's getting into trouble here,
all we want to do is try and find Darren.
PHONE RINGS OUT
-It's Emma from the police station.
-I'm the officer who has just been round to your house.
We've spoken to our boss.
What he's said is that Becky's confirmed to us that she had
a conversation with you on Sunday morning, you told her that
there'd been a physical assault between her and Darren.
Now, nobody's in any trouble,
we're not kind of investigating any sort of assault.
Yeah, that there's been physical contact between the two of them.
Right, so, she did hit him?
All right, thank you. Bye.
Yeah, there's been a physical assault. She's confirmed it.
She said, "I didn't think it was important".
But she said that before Darren went into the garden,
she can't remember what was said,
but that Becky has punched him to the face.
No injury that she saw.
No bleeding, immediate bruising or anything.
Said that... Described him as being absolutely fine.
He didn't appear upset, he didn't appear angry, um...
-He'll have been embarrassed, though.
And he's gone into the kitchen and then, it's just after this
when her partner and Darren have gone into the back garden to talk.
Have a one-to-one.
So I think he's really the important person we need to speak to.
Police now know Darren had an intimate conversation
with the party's host before he disappeared.
The last person to see somebody alive,
they're going to give that detailed account of someone's mind-set
prior to them going missing.
They are key and we need to speak to them as quickly as possible.
But the man they need to question is working overseas
and won't be back for two days.
As the week drew on, it was, like,
it was getting more desperate
and it was getting more and more worrying.
And then we felt like if we shared photos on Twitter and Facebook,
that that was the only thing that we could do.
He hadn't been seen and his car hadn't been seen
and it just wasn't...
It just wasn't adding up.
Is he alive? Is he dead?
All sorts were just going through my head.
Just constantly, all the time.
What-ifs all the time. What-ifs.
After six days, the police at last have a breakthrough.
Could you do me a favour?
Could you record that footage
and send it to me on, er...on my phone?
We can concentrate our search around that area.
Officers on the ground have tracked down crucial CCTV
of Darren's car the night he left the party.
He's captured on CCTV...
-You know the PCSOs doing the review?
Junction of Longfield Road...
-..he turns right onto Whessoe Road at 21:51.
-He cuts the corner
and then heads up Whessoe Road, towards, like, Burtree, that way.
There's cops up there now searching that whole route.
So far, the police have been concentrating their search
on Darren's preferred route home from Darlington.
The CCTV confirms he was travelling in a different direction.
Now, air support can concentrate their search
on roads they know Darren has taken.
The helicopter's camera can't see through dense foliage,
so officers join the search at ground level.
-Look how far that goes down!
-There's nothing, like, fresh either.
-He's not here.
I just feel...I feel a bit deflated.
It's...it's more an element of frustration more than anything.
You want to bring it to a conclusion and
there's nothing at this moment in time
which is going to assist us in doing that, so...
Hopefully that changes before the shift's over.
There's just nothing.
There's just no explanation to where he is.
CID are continuing to interview other guests that were at the party.
We've had information that you were actually one of the persons
who was present at the barbecue on Saturday,
which is the last place that he was seen.
And how did Darren seem on the day?
You said that their marriage wasn't very good.
Do you know what they'd been rowing about?
They'd been rowing about drugs.
Who made that disclosure to you?
So they both told you that Darren's using drugs.
OK, did they say what drugs he was using?
He's been smoking crack cocaine.
She's saying that he's got a really bad crack habit.
His personality has massively changed recently.
She had a wine and cheese night a couple of months ago.
And she described him as being a dick while he was at the party,
that he's got this crack cocaine habit.
His mum's given him three grand in two months.
He said that he needed it
because Becky wasn't being paid maternity leave.
Well, apparently, he only uses it on a Thursday
when she goes to her dad's house.
You can't imagine it, though, can you, like,
someone who you've just married coming out with something like that.
To find out that he's possibly on crack cocaine...
It was just unbelievable when I heard about it.
I don't know if I can comprehend anything.
Crack cocaine with Darren,
it just doesn't seem to go in the same sentence.
But he's been... Well, I wouldn't say habitually,
but he's previously been using crack cocaine.
You know, where does that come from? And how does that fit in?
Because if he's using that, then are we looking at dealers,
are we looking at debt,
are we looking at him being an interim dealer or user or...?
If somebody is drug dependent, it changes things massively.
If they have, for example, a second life,
which your partner is unaware of,
or your wife's unaware of, we need to probe into that
and find out, well, is there actually something else
that's going on underneath that's caused somebody
to go missing from home?
People do have secrets. It's quite common.
Our job is to work out who they really are,
and what they're about,
what they're thinking, how their lifestyle is.
What we see on face value of somebody smiling in a photograph
and who looks really happy,
could deep down be heavily depressed.
And I just automatically think, "What is going on in your head?
"Where are you going? What are you going to go and do next?"
It really does make you try to get back into their heads again
of what's around you, what have you just done?
What's going to happen to him?
He's left pissed, and he's had an accident.
I would have thought that if he's had an accident,
there'd be a trace of his vehicle somewhere.
So that would come up as a road traffic collision
because we would have a record of it somewhere,
either us or county forces or other forces.
He's left, pissed, and killed himself?
Possibly, but there's no indicators to say why he would go and do so.
He's not left a note or anything like that, though, has he?
Or he's just...
..disappeared for a bit. Keep his head down for a few days.
He took a load of cash out the day before, didn't he?
He might have an account that we don't know about. Unlikely, but...
Has he got a passport?
No, she's got that,
but as we said, he's got a friend in the military
who's in Northern Ireland where you would only need a driving licence
to get over there.
Could he be in some crack house in Darlington?
It was the Thursday I went out
and I pretty much knew where the houses were,
where you can go and get some stuff.
So I went searching round all them.
Obviously, he wasn't there, you know, so it was like, pff.
Asking people in the street
if they've seen the likes of Darren and stuff.
But there's a lot of people just said they haven't seen him.
They haven't seen him for a while.
I was racking my brains where he could be.
CID have received new information from Darren's wife.
She's looked at his online banking,
and she's seen that in early August,
there's been £1,000 paid into the account.
I asked her if there was anything on there
to suggest where it had come from and she said, "No."
And she said that all throughout August, at different times,
there's been, like, £90 drawn out here, 120 drawn out here.
You know, like, different amounts over, like, throughout August,
and now it's cleared out.
As I say, I think there's 39 pence or something left in it.
And she had no idea about that money. She said it's not his wages.
She doesn't know where it's come from.
So is that a separate bank account that she wasn't aware of?
No, no, she's aware of it.
-This is the main Barclays account that they've been using.
-But she's just never noticed that cash before?
I asked Rebecca, "What's your gut feeling?" and she said,
"I think, because of the drugs, I think someone's taken him."
Someone's taken him?
Yeah, she didn't elaborate on it,
and she couldn't put any sort of meat on the bones
in relation to it, but...
Unless he's gone somewhere to score,
and something's befallen him.
It may be that she's still not letting on as much as she knows.
I don't know.
Because she hasn't been consistent, has she?
Deeper enquiries into Darren's bank accounts
have brought another person of interest into the investigation.
Yes, basically, you know the neighbour next door, the best man?
Basically, Darren has been sending him online banking money
so that the fella can draw it out for him,
which is unusual, so we need to speak to the neighbour.
It's Thomas Archer.
I'm going to try and get somebody to go round and try and speak to him,
and try and find out what their relationship was,
and if he can shed any further light.
Other the past month,
Darren made several payments into his neighbour's bank account.
I've been asked to ask you, Thomas. They've obviously done a check on his bank,
-and there's been some deposits made into your account.
-He used to do that all the time.
-What was that in relation to?
Cos he never had a bank card, or he said he never had a bank card.
-Says his mum's got his bank card.
He'd given it to his mum because he was trying to save money.
-He used to send me the money...
..and then go round the shop and get the money out.
And get the money back out.
Did you just give him a card? Just to draw it out? Yeah.
And he used to be skint all the while.
And then come back and say,
"Oh, look, I've just won 500 quid on a scratchcard."
And you just knew blatantly he was lying to you.
-Because you can't go and cash a scratchcard for 500 quid.
Why don't you just say, like,
I think he used to borrow off people, his ma and that, you know?
He used to lie about money all the while.
See, it's not that we're investigating any issues with drugs
or anything, like, but are you aware of any issues he had with drugs?
Well, I knew he did drugs,
but I didn't think it was an issue
because he must have been quite good at hiding it,
but now it's been mentioned, you think,
"Maybe that's why he's skint and that's why he's losing so much..."
I mean, the tops of his legs, here,
when the wind blew round his jeans, they were like my wrists.
Like, proper just dropped off him.
He's always been, like, skinny, never put no weight on,
but recently, he started looking like a corpse.
There's all sorts of theories that you could come up with,
but that's all they are, theories, isn't it?
You've got no money, you've got no change of clothes,
unless he's been saving up all that money
that he's been taking out and he's planned to do a bunk or something.
I don't know. It just seems weird for the car to go.
I've never worked on anything like this before,
where the revelations about the lifestyle have continued to develop,
where you think you're getting somewhere,
and then suddenly there's a whole raft of new lines of inquiry
that are quite protracted and lengthy,
and can take you off in a completely different direction.
That was found...
You know like you get a chest of drawers,
and you get a base along the bottom?
See the bottom of that cupboard there?
When you take the drawers out, there's an empty space underneath.
And underneath there was this.
Obviously, when she's looked in there there's been...
That's all of his debt.
There is bank statements and debt letters, she said.
It's a defaulter's bank account,
Capital One credit card with £345 default on it.
That may relate to that,
so we didn't really know about it, but yeah.
-Put that in as one unit and that will be looked through.
-Fantastic. Thank you.
Darren and Rebecca only bought their house a few years ago.
So it'll be about two to three years.
They were saving up for a deposit,
and put a deposit on the house and then moved in their house.
When I first got on the property ladder,
I picked my house up for £29,000, you know?
Now you're looking at 80, 90, 100.
You know, you're looking at £400 or £500 a month.
That's even before anything else.
He never showed any pressure, like, he never...
..showed he was, like, struggling with anything.
He just got on with life.
He was always jolly, still.
I know if you're brave on the outside,
it's what goes on inside.
If drugs are involved in the case,
then it's a consideration that the debt that comes with it,
or the risks, owing money to a drug dealer, to them,
is quite a significant thing.
Because if I don't pay Barclays for my mortgage, I'll get a letter,
and then I'll get a warning letter and whatever else.
They'll get their legs broken. And they don't play fair.
The debt'll get doubled, tripled, and realistically,
it's going to be never-ending.
When you start factoring in debt,
and when you start factoring in drug use,
and you start factoring in a side of life
which your family are oblivious to,
then it's possible that you've been hiding.
You've almost had, like, a secret life or a second life.
It's like going through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia, isn't it?
It's like you exist in a parallel life.
They've just had enough of the mundane existence
which was the normal life. They would just disappear
and almost make a new start.
You know, start living that side of their life
which was just different to the life that they'd been leading previously
in that, you know, the domestic family set-up.
It's been seven days since Darren went missing at the barbecue.
The party's host is now back in the UK and has come in for questioning.
CID need to know what was said in their intimate conversation
before Darren disappeared.
We've been told that, and this has come from Becky,
that she'd been seen to hit Darren at the party.
And a few people had said that
you had quite a conversation with Darren outside,
and it was a bit of a heart-to-heart.
They were arguing. Like, name-calling. I was like,
"Come on, let's go outside and have a smoke and a chat."
We went outside, sat in the gazebo.
And I was like, "What's up?"
-And he just started getting upset.
-Upset crying or...?
-Yeah, yeah, crying.
-I was like, "What's up with you?"
-OK, OK. This part...
Is really important.
..is really important, so I'm going to try and type
exactly what you say.
He can't seem to find a way out of it.
And he doesn't know how to make things better.
And he was saying, "I've messed up.
"I don't know how to get back from it."
I was like, "Well, what have you done?"
"Oh, she's never going to forgive me.
"She's never going to forgive me."
I was like, "Whatever you've done can't be that bad.
"You've only been married a few weeks."
I said, like, "Sort your head out." Basically.
And he was saying,
"Ah, but she'll never forgive me, she'll never forgive me."
He said, "I've got no mates." I said, "Well, I'm your mate."
But I haven't actually known him for that long.
I've known him...not even six months, I don't think.
Did he ever, at any point, say what this thing is that he'd done...
-No, he was just, he was just...
-Becky was not going to forgive.
He seemed as if, whatever he's done...
It seemed like he couldn't find...
He didn't know how to make things better.
Then we went back in the house and we had a few more drinks.
And then he just went.
-So did he tell him what was wrong?
-Did he not ask him?
-He hasn't pushed him.
-Are we happy that he's telling the truth about that?
I've read it out to him about three times.
Cos that would be your first question, wouldn't it?
It's a shame he didn't probe as to why he was...
Nothing. He couldn't give any lines of inquiry.
He did say he's going to go out walking tonight
with another guy who was at the party to see if he could find him.
Within half an hour of the barbecue host leaving,
Darren's brother, Andrew, turns up unexpectedly at the station.
Come in, take a seat.
My name's Emma. I am a detective and I work in South Durham CID.
I'm one of those assisting in the investigation of finding Darren.
How are you doing?
-Not very good.
Are there any questions you want to ask us?
How has he disappeared? Where's he gone?
What do you think's happened to him?
My initial feeling is that he's just gone and started a new life.
TELEPHONE RINGING TONE
CALLER SPEAKS INDISTINCLY
CALLER SPEAKS INDISTINCLY
OK, whereabouts are you?
You know Burtree? By the caravans there. I've just found him!
I've just found him now!
Give us two minutes, Graham.
Hello, mate, it's Graham, ODS over at Bishop.
Where exactly is the vehicle?
Darren's car has been found
in the centre of a densely wooded roundabout
three and a half miles from the
Darlington barbecue address.
Emma and Andrew are unaware of the discovery.
I just wish I could get in his mind and think what he's doing
and what's going on.
Someone... I don't know if he's got depression. You don't know, do you?
I've had depression myself.
And you just block everything else out.
Everything else what's around you doesn't mean anything,
you know what I mean?
-You're in your own little world.
I've been there.
I've sorted myself out. You never know.
It could be a number of things. You just...
You don't know.
I don't know at all.
Just this way.
So we're approaching the scene now, but as you can see,
we're on a dual carriageway there.
It has been national speed limit
up until the point that we've just passed.
But it drops to a 50 because, you know,
it's quite a severe bend on approach to the roundabout here.
There's been quite a number of accidents in previous times. So...
We can see we're just approaching the actual point now.
Is he actually on the roundabout, then?
Oh, yeah. I mean, there's some...
All right. Let's go and have a look.
-He's travelled some distance then, hasn't he?
-He has. He has.
-It is well hidden.
-See where his car slid down?
-That's the wing mirror.
So he's actually been airborne and struck that there.
So you're happy it's a traffic accident?
-Hiya. Are you all right?
-Hiya, yeah, are you?
Yeah, yeah. Have you heard?
I've heard that his vehicle's been found.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I mean, it's his vehicle and there's a deceased male within,
so it's going to be him.
A deceased male in the car?
To be fair, where he is,
he's probably come straight from the party,
and probably died within ten minutes, I suspect.
The route he's taken,
it is well hidden so it's unlikely anyone, you know,
it's... He's obviously been travelling at a massive speed.
-He's been airborne and hit a tree halfway up.
Do you want me to stay here and then...?
Yeah, just stay there.
We'll sort out what we're going to do with the family afterwards.
Yeah, yeah, the brother's just left, yeah.
Right, OK, no problem.
I still remember, it was absolutely bouncing with rain.
I just knew it was fatal as soon as I seen that car.
There was no way there was anybody coming away from that.
I just felt like somebody had took my heart out
and stuck a knife through it.
It still feels like that now.
The thing is, if I'd had that opportunity to help him,
I would have helped him.
I would have given him a cuddle and said, "We'll sort this.
"We'll talk about it.
"And we'll go and get some help."
Talk to somebody...
..cos it does work.
Let your feelings go. Talk to somebody.
Get some help.
If you don't get the help...
..anything can happen with that mind.
It plays terrible tricks with you.
He wouldn't want people to be sad.
He wouldn't want people not being together.
He'd want everybody getting on and being close.
Cos that's what Darren loved.
He loved it when everybody was together.
In his younger days he was a para,
so if he's suffering from a dementia episode,
and he's reverted back to his days of thinking he's a para,
-it isn't unusual for him to walk 20 miles.
Just six weeks after his wedding, 28-year-old Darren vanishes, apparently into thin air, leaving Inspector Simon Orton and the team at Durham police baffled: 'I would expect that there will be some crumb that will come out: some spark, a sighting, a phone call from somebody who's spoken to them, you know. There will be like a proof of life- and that's what we're after, a proof of life. But it's almost like he just disappeared off the face of the earth'.
As detectives dig deeper into events leading up to Darren's disappearance, they uncover secrets and lies. All is not what it seems, but there are many reasons why people don't always tell the police the whole truth and it is down to Claire McElvaney and her partner from South Durham CID to work out what is relevant to their investigation and what is not.