Body of missing birdwatcher Timothy Hatcher found in Maldon, police confirm

By Ben Shahrabi

22nd May 2023 | Local News

Timothy Hatcher had been suffering from dementia, which left him extremely vulnerable. (Photo: Essex Police)
Timothy Hatcher had been suffering from dementia, which left him extremely vulnerable. (Photo: Essex Police)

The body of a missing 69-year-old, Timothy Hatcher, was found in Maldon earlier this month, Essex Police has confirmed.

Officers were called to Cut-a-Thwart Lane, near Beeleigh Abbey, at around 5.30pm on Saturday 13 May, after a member of the public found a body in the water. Following an extensive investigation, including DNA enquiries and a forensic post-mortem, the body was confirmed to be that of Mr Hatcher.

His death is not being treated as suspicious and a file has been prepared for the coroner.

Detective Superintendent Scott Egerton said: "This is terribly sad news, but I hope that this confirmation provides some closure to Timothy's loved ones."

Mr Hatcher was a keen birdwatcher. However, he had been suffering from dementia, which left him extremely vulnerable, so he relied on support from carers. Mr Hatcher was reported missing to Essex Police on 20 December last year, prompting a large-scale missing person investigation.

Det Supt Egerton continued: "The investigation into Timothy's disappearance was a significant one for us and included widespread searches across Chelmsford and surrounding areas. 

"Officers and staff, including search specialists, were involved in the investigation to find Timothy and we carried out around 400 hours of searching covering 5 kilometres of land and a 4-kilometre stretch of the River Chelmer.

"We had the support of Essex Search and Rescue, and utilised kayaks, sonar, and an underwater drone.

"We reviewed hundreds of hours of CCTV footage, analysed phone and financial data, and carried out house-to-house enquiries.

"This was a complex investigation and search and clearly this is not the result we had been hoping for.

"Our officers were supported by dozens of people in the community as well as Essex Search and Rescue and I would like to thank them for their support."

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