The family of a cyclist whose body was found three years after he vanished say they “still need answers” as they prepare to say their final farewells.
Former Navy petty officer Anthony Parsons, known as Tony, went missing in 2017 while on a long charity cycle from his home in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, to Fort William.
The 63-year-old’s remains were discovered in January this year near a farm at the Bridge of Orchy.
Two men, both aged 29, had been arrested several weeks before the discovery in connection with his disappearance and were released pending further inquiries.
Mr Parsons’ family will pay their final respects at Stirling Crematorium this afternoon.
‘We have been left devastated by what has happened’
In a statement on behalf of the family today, his son Mike said: “The last three and a half years have been incredibly hard for us as a family and for all those who knew my dad.
“We have been left devastated by what has happened to my dad.
“As we come together as a family today to celebrate my dad’s life and to say our final goodbyes, we hope we can begin to come to terms with his death.
“We would like to say a heartfelt thank you for the support given and condolences passed from our friends and family, many of whom have been unable to attend today.
“We still need answers to many questions surrounding my dad’s death so I would ask anyone who may have even the smallest piece of information to please speak to the police and help us get the answers and closure we need.”
Grandad Mr Parsons, who spent more than two decades in the Navy, was last seen at around 11.30pm outside the Bridge of Orchy Hotel as he travelled south on the A82.
He had left his home on Friday September 29, 2017.
Staff member urged Mr Parsons to stay
A staff member at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel served Mr Parsons a coffee before his last sighting and urged him to stay the night rather than depart so late on due to the potentially dangerous conditions of the road.
A number of specialist police resources, including the mountain rescue team, air support and dog units were involved in searches since Mr Parsons was reported missing.
Police continue to appeal for information
Detective Superintendent Raymond Brown, of Police Scotland’s major investigation team, said: “We continue to appeal to anyone who has any information that could assist with our inquiries to contact us as a matter of urgency.
“It is imperative that we get answers for Anthony’s family who have been through many years of heartbreak and distress, which still continues despite Anthony finally being found and being laid to rest today.”
September 29, 2017 – Tony Parsons set off for Fort William on a charity bike ride back to his home in Tillicoultry.
- 4.10pm – Mr Parsons arrives in Fort William and begins his journey south.
- 6pm – He is spotted in Glencoe
- 11.30pm – Mr Parsons left the Bridge of Orchy Hotel as he continued his journey towards Tyndrum. No further sightings of Mr Parsons were recorded.
October 2, 2017 – Mr Parsons is reported missing.
October 4, 2017 – Police release a fresh image of him
October 20, 2017 – Police stop motorists between 9pm and 3am along the A82 between Bridge of Orchy and Tyndrum as they seek information.
October 26, 2017 – Four weeks on from his disappearance, police renew their appeal to trace Mr Parsons.
December 28, 2017 – Police renew their appeal for information
September 29, 2018 – A year on from his disappearance, CCTV footage of Mr Parsons passing the Claymore Filling Station in Glencoe is released
September 28, 2019 – Chief Inspector Drew Sinclair says he is “determined” to provide the family with answers and to ensure people remain aware that he is still missing.
December 30, 2020 – Two men, both aged 29, are arrested and released pending further inquiries.
January 4, 2021 – Police searches home in on a farm at Auch Estate near Bridge of Orchy as white tents are erected in the area
January 12, 2021 – Human remains are discovered at Auch Estate
January 14, 2021 – The remains are confirmed as those belonging to Tony Parsons
February 23, 2021 – Mr Parsons’ family appeal for answers as posters and leaflets are handed out by police in and around the area he went missing.
April 5, 2021 – Police confirm searches continue along the A82 near to Bridge of Orchy.
Anyone with information regarding Mr Parsons can contact the major investigation team on 0141 305 4510 or through the team’s online public portal at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/SCOT20S34-PO1
Information can be submitted anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.