Father pays tribute to 'emotional and empathetic' son after body discovered under railway arch

The father of missing university student Viktor Ivanelo has paid tribute to his “very emotional and empathetic” son, after his body was found underneath a railway arch near Surbiton station.

Kingston police officers and British Transport Police (BTP) were called to Victoria Recreation Ground in Balaclava Road at about 1.30pm on Tuesday after the discovery. A BTP spokesman said officers had examined the scene and were treating the death as unexplained.

The body is believed to be Viktor Ivanelo, a 21-year-old University of Surrey student who disappeared in mysterious circumstances after leaving a friend's house in Esher more than a month ago on February 26.

The student's phone, keys, earphones and bag were among belongings found along a bridleway by a horse rider in Chessington the day after he disappeared. He was spotted on CCTV travelling to Claygate from Clapham Junction station the day before his disappearance but officers said not a "single sighting" of the student was reported.

Teams from Surrey Search and Rescue had been involved in the search along with police dogs, drones and helicopters. His family had also resorted to hiring a private detective, Andy Kemp, a former police officer who had worked for the Metropolitan Police’s missing desk for eight years.

Mr Ivanelo, who went to boarding school in the UK and was fluent in English, had been in the first year of a business management degree at the University of Surrey. Professor Jane Powell, vice-provost education and students at the University of Surrey, said staff and students were “greatly saddened” by this discovery on Tuesday.

A solitary bouquet of daffodils were left behind the iron railings in Victoria Recreation Ground on Wednesday. A post-mortem examination and formal identification are due to take place in the next three to four days.


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