‘We want him home’ – Two years since Rory vanished, his parents renew appeal to find him

Rory's mum and dad, Liz Johnson and Doug Hatfield, renew their appeals for information in York. Photograph: David Dunning / Minster FM
16 Nov 2017 @ 3.29 pm
| News

Two years ago Rory Johnson-Hatfield ran along Tower Street in York in the early hours of a Friday morning.

His movements were picked up on CCTV cameras. Minutes later he was seen in the City Mills area.

They are the last sightings we have of Rory, who then vanished without a trace.

Two years on his parents have returned to the city with a simple message: “We want him home.”

“I do believe that somebody has seen Rory,” said his mum, Liz Johnson. “So please come forward.”

Night out

Rory, whose 31st birthday was on October 26, was visiting York from his home in Skipton. He was staying at the York Central Travel Lodge on Piccadilly.

His friend last saw him when he left the hotel at 12.15am on Friday, November 20, 2015.

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

His dad Doug Hatfield said on Thursday (November 16): “We’ve always maintained that Rory hasn’t gone in the river.

“The police finished all their searches just recently – that’s two years down the road and there’s been nothing found whatsoever.”

Move on from the river

Still missing: Rory Johnson-Hatfield

“We need to move on from the river,” Doug said. He appealed to anybody who was out in York that night to think back.

“Anyone who can put Rory in town on that evening and give us some idea of where he went, how he got out of town, where he could possibly be.

“He’s a missing person and we need to try and find him. We want him home.”

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

Mum Liz said: “Rory is now a missing person. He’s not somebody that’s gone in the river, he’s a missing person. And that’s what we want to concentrate on now.”

She said there were a lot of people near Kuda nightclub and at the nearby takeaways that night.

“We just would love the public to stretch their minds back a few years. I do believe that somebody has seen Rory. So please come forward.”

And she made this direct appeal to her son:

Rory, we love you so much, all of us – your brothers and your sisters, your mum, your other mum, your dad – we just need you home honey.

We just need you home. It would just make our lives complete.

Missing six minutes

When he took over as Deputy Commander in May, Chief Inspector Allan Westcott of North Yorkshire Police reviewed the case.

He interviewed witnesses and oversaw a further extensive river search, as far as Goole. But Rory’s disappearance remains a mystery.

“From the early investigations we’ve had no further confirmed sightings of Rory since that night. But we continue to search for Rory, until we locate him.”

Like Rory’s parents, he believes the ‘missing six minutes’ may hold the key.

We are missing six minutes of where Rory’s located, when he and another male went up Tower Street – and then Rory reappeared running towards Skeldergate Bridge.

We’ve never really been able to locate where Rory, or the person that he was with, actually ended up within those six minutes. Or why Rory was running back towards Skeldergate Bridge.

Ch Insp Westcott added: “Any sightings or any information in those early hours of Friday November 20 2015 are really crucial to the investigation to give us any further leads as to where Rory ended up on that night.”

If you can help, contact North Yorkshire Police on 101.