Devastated parents of missing graduate, 23, trapped in 'hell' as they retrace his last known steps every day

6 April 2024, 12:33

Jack O'Sullivan, 23, was last seen at around 3.15am on March 2.
Jack O'Sullivan, 23, was last seen at around 3.15am on March 2. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police

By Emma Soteriou

The devastated parents of a missing graduate have said they are trapped in "hell" as they retrace his last known steps every day with hopes of finding out what happened to him.

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Jack O'Sullivan, 23, vanished while on the way home from a party in Bristol on March 2.

He was last seen at around 3.15am in the area of Brunel Lock Road and Brunel Way and was wearing a quilted green/brown Barbour jacket, a beige woollen jumper, navy chinos and brown leather trainers.

His mother, Catherine O'Sullivan, said she immediately knew "something's wrong" when she woke up at 5am and Jack had not returned home.

She went out to search for him with her husband, Alan, straight away - the first of many days of "hell".

The couple have followed the same route their son is believed to have taken every day since his disappearance.

"We live hour by hour. You can't plan for the next day; we just communicate with police and we wait. We wait," Ms O'Sullivan told the Times.

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A map of the Brunel Lock Road/Brunel Way area, in Bristol, with a triangle showing Jack’s last confirmed sighting.
A map of the Brunel Lock Road/Brunel Way area, in Bristol, with a triangle showing Jack’s last confirmed sighting. Picture: Google Maps/Avon and Somerset Police

Jack is described as white, around 5ft 10ins tall, of slim build, with short, brown hair.

His mother previously said: "He put tremendous amount of effort into his next steps. He had already secured summer placements which are really hard to get. But he put in 45 applications."

She added: "Jack is a really good chap. He's very gentle. He just wanted to make sure everybody else was ok."

He had last been in contact with her at around 2am on the night he went missing, saying he was ok.

Then, just before 3am, he left the party alone. CCTV from across the city showed Jack crossing the Junction Swing Bridge and turning down Brunel Lock Road.

His family have retraced his steps every day since and at different times of the day just to get a sense of what might have happened.

"I wanted to see if it was dark, and how it felt. But it's incredibly well-lit," his mother said.

Jack O’Sullivan
Jack O’Sullivan. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police

Police have said they believe Jack may have fallen in the river.

Specialist divers from Avon and Somerset Police have been searching the River Avon and the Cumberland Basin area for him.

Detective Inspector Jason Chidgey, who is leading the investigation, said: "This is an incredibly difficult and distressing time for Jack's family and friends and we are continuing our efforts to try and find him.

"It has been one month since Jack was last seen down in the Cumberland Basin area and we continue to appeal for anyone who may have been driving along these roads and may have seen something, or have dashcam footage if they did not see it themselves.

"If you live in the area and have CCTV or video doorbells, please check back to Saturday March 2 and see if you notice anything or anyone meeting Jack's description.

CCTV showing the last confirmed sighting of Jack O’Sullivan.
CCTV showing the last confirmed sighting of Jack O’Sullivan. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police

"The smallest bit of information could make a huge difference in our investigation so, even if you don't think it is important, we encourage people to still get in touch with us.

"We are keeping an open mind about where Jack is but this is very out of character for him and we have been working hard to track his movements that night.

"Detectives have carried out extensive CCTV trawls, house-to-house enquiries, we have deployed a specialist dive team to search the basin and the wider River Avon - due to Jack's proximity to the river when he was last seen - and have been looking at his phone and why that was active after his last confirmed sighting."

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