‘Thoughtful’ man leaves clues to help family find his body before going missing
The grieving family of a 20-year-old missing man believe he left clues to help them bring his body home.
Police found a body on the Torquay coast early yesterday morning during the massive search for Tommy Spink.
His family had kicked off the extensive search for the young man, led by his older sister Toni Stone.
She spent three sleepless days and nights co-ordinating the army of volunteers and knocking on doors to trace CCTV in an effort to retrace her brother's movements.
Tragically police confirmed a body was found in an area along the Baddacombe coastline about 8am Tuesday, reports Devon Live.
Tommy went missing after leaving an Indian restaurant at 11pm on Saturday, and his family were able to help authorities find him by retracing his movements captured on CCTV.
Tommy's mother Sandie Spink believes that Tommy purposely left signs that would lead his family to find him.
"Everybody needed him to be found and he must have known that – he was a thoughtful boy like that," she said.
She paid tribute to her daughter Toni who didn't sleep as she lead the hunt for Tommy: "She was like a machine," Sandie said.
"She was amazing. There were so many little things that had to happen and he lead her to him.
"It's amazing how many people picked up CCTV footage going up the roads to Babbacombe."
Toni began her search long before the emergency services listed Tommy as an official missing person.
She said: "He lead me to him. I just felt like he left his phone so that he could be found. That's why he didn't take it with him.
"It was found by the police at Walls Hill."
But it was Toni who pointed police and coastguard rescue teams to Walls Hill.
She described how she spent three sleepless days and nights collecting information until she was able to tell police where to look: "I got them to the point 500 yards from where he was, up the lane."
Toni found CCTV showing Tommy in his distinctive white puffer jacket as he walked from the Maha Bharat Indian restaurant toward Babbacombe Road in Torquay.
He could also be seen passing Torwood Gardens on Sunday morning.
After that Toni began knocking on doors where people had CCTV and she gradually built up a picture.
The final piece of the puzzle showed him walking near The Range – but a bus passed him and he disappears from sight.
Tommy's family realised he must have turned off a path leading to Walls Hill.
Toni, 30, was "very, very close" to Tommy, who would have turned 21 next Tuesday.
She said: "I found him by just following the CCTV and knocking on doors. I followed him to his last point.
"I didn't sleep – I just kept getting the CCTV and we just had to keep following it."
Tommy's phone was found just as Storm Brendan brought dangerous weather conditions and police appealed to the public who were out looking for Tommy to stop.
Toni said: "We had to stop the search because the weather was so bad. They had found his phone – I know he left it for me to know where he was.
"I just wish I could have saved him."
Tommy also leaves a younger brother, Louis, 14. Toni said: "Louis always says there is only one way to describe Tommy – he is unique."
Toni described Tommy as 'entrepreneurial': "Dad calls him entrepreneurial – he was always full of good ideas."
Tommy was particularly close to Toni's daughter, his niece Penny. Toni said: "He called her his little Princess. He loved her."
Sandie said: "He loved the kids – my sister has little twin girls and he was fantastic with them – he was always so good with his little cousins and his niece."
Devon and Cornwall Police yesterday said a body had been found in the search for Tommy.
The force said: "The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner."
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