BANGKOK – British teenager Eddie Gibson who went missing while backpacking in Cambodia nine years ago is now thought to have been murdered for his money.
Gibson, 19, from Hove in Sussex, went missing on Oct 24 2004. He had been due to fly back to Britain just one week later.
His parents say they now have evidence that he was robbed and bludgeoned to death in Poipet, on the Cambodian border with Thailand.
Eddie was three weeks into a combined Asian and Pacific studies and international management course at Leeds University when he decided to travel to Southeast Asia.
He emailed his mother two weeks into his trip to say that he would be flying home from Thailand one week later, but he never arrived in the UK.
Following the teenager’s disappearance, four officers from the Sussex Police major crime branch unit spent 10 days in Phnom Penh, working alongside Cambodia’s national police, but they were unable to identify Eddie’s movements. His parents visited the country numerous times and employed private investigators to track their son down, to no avail.
Eddie’s father, Mike Gibson, said they had now received new information on the case from a businessman with a military background in Southeast Asia who the family met through a charity set up in Eddie’s name.
He said it was believed Eddie was bludgeoned to death with a shovel and robbed of £2,000 to £3,000 cash he had on him.
“The news that he was murdered in this way has been a tremendous shock to the family,” his father Mike told the BBC. “The information this man had dovetailed into the information we had, so we are as sure as we can be that it is correct.
“The authorities in Cambodia have limited resources and I suppose we are lucky in a way that we met this man. At least we now know what has happened to Eddie. The border at Poipet is a difficult area and I think he was pretty well ambushed up there.”
He said the family was now grieving, even though they had known for years that the chances of Eddie being found alive were slim.
“It has been more shocking than we could imagine,” he said. “We will have the process of declaring Eddie dead and we want to have a memorial service for him. We will then revisit the charity to see how best we can either continue with it or use the funds in his name.”