Video: Five years on, missing Rory’s mum tells YorkMix: ‘I have to stay positive to get me through’

17 Nov 2020 @ 5.46 pm
| News

It is now FIVE long years since a young man from Skipton went missing in York.

Police think he fell into the River Ouse – but his parents are certain that there is another explanation and that one day he will return.

Rory’s mother, who lives near Blackpool, said today that she has be to carry on being positive to get through.

“I just have this gut feeling that Rory is out there and once again I say, whatever has happened, just come home,” she told YorkMix.

One of the CCTV images showing Rory in Tower Street, York, opposite Clifford’s Tower.
Photographs: North Yorkshire Police

On the night of November 19 2015, Rory, aged 29, was having a night out in York, a city that he loved and knew well.

He was staying at the York Central Travelodge on Piccadilly. His friend last saw him when he left the hotel at 12.15am.

He was then pictured on the CCTV cameras in Tower Street at 12.39am. Eight minutes later there was another sighting of Rory in the City Mills area.

After that he simply vanished without a trace.

‘He is out there somewhere’

After his disappearance, the police underwater search unit scoured the river. But no sign of him has ever been found.

For Liz Johnson and Dough Hatfield that night was the start of a desperate search for their son.

They have returned to the city each year since on the anniversary of his disappearence hoping to jog someones memory and find a vital clue to what happened.

This year they have not been able to do that because of the Covid lockdown.

Rory’s mum and dad, Liz Johnson and Doug Hatfield, in York in 2019. Photograph: David Dunning

Speaking from her home, in Lytham St Annes on the Lancashire coast, Liz said that she is convinced that someone is holding back information and even after all this time she feels that Rory is out there somewhere.

“It’s not just his family that miss him, his friends do too. They have all moved on in five years with marriages and children being born and they all wish that Rory was here to see them.”

“If he’d had an accident or something then you could come to terms with that but it’s the not knowing that is so very hard.

“That and this feeling that I have that he is out there somewhere.

“It’s something that maybe I just want to believe but honestly, as his mum, I just have this feeling – and you know if he had gone into the river surely he would have been found by now?”

Reports of sightings

Can you help find Rory?

Liz says that she is able to get on with life even though she thinks about him virtually every waking moment.

Her friends are her rock, many she has known since childhood, others she has made since Rory went missing.

His Facebook group is still active and there are the occasional reports of sightings but it they have turned out to be mistaken identity.

Although she and Doug split up well before Rory went missing they both have a bond which helps them cope with what is every parents nightmare.

David Dunning has been following the story for five years. He made this video report for Minster FM and YorkMix on the first anniversary of Rory’s disappearance

The police investigation is still active and if you have any new information contact officers on 101