Human remains found in well on Crete identified as British man who vanished in 2005
Human remains found in a well in Crete are those of a British holidaymaker who went missing more than a decade ago, police have confirmed.
Steven Cook, then 20, disappeared on a night out in Malia with friends in 2005 - the first holiday he had taken without his family.
Despite appeals on UK and Greek TV, Mr Cook - from Sandbach, Cheshire - was never found.
On Friday, Cheshire Police said human remains, which were discovered in a well in Malia earlier this month, had been tested and confirmed as Mr Cook's.
Detective Inspector Gary McIntyre said: "On Thursday 16th February Cheshire Constabulary was made aware of the discovery of human remains in a well in Malia, Crete.
"Since then, officers have been in close liaison with the Greek authorities and have been awaiting further information.
"The remains were removed from the site and taken to a nearby hospital for further forensic examination.
"Tests have been carried out and we have now received confirmation from the Greek authorities that the remains belong to Steven Cook, who went missing on 1st September 2005 during a holiday to the island.
"Steven's family have been kept fully updated on the developments and are currently being supported by Cheshire officers. They have been provided with support since Steven first went missing and this will continue over the coming weeks.
"This is understandably an extremely upsetting and distressing time for the Cook family. Steven's relatives are very appreciative of all the support the media and the public have given them over the years in their quest to find him but they have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time as they are trying to come to terms with the news.
"It is important to remember that the discovery of Steven's body is being managed by the Greek authorities, who have had primacy for this case since Steven was first reported missing, and they will continue to liaise with us moving forward."
Det Insp McIntyre said the force's priority was to ensure Mr Cook was flown home to the UK as soon as possible.
He added: "Steven was 20 at the time of his disappearance. Over the years Cheshire Constabulary has remained committed to finding him. A file on Steven's disappearance has been maintained by the force and we always said that it will not be closed until information is received which confirms what has happened to him.
"Officers involved in Steven's case will continue to liaise with the Greek authorities, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Steven's family moving forward."
In a post on the Find Steven Cook Facebook group, the family said they would be bringing Mr Cook home to say their "farewells".
They said: "Having a loved one go missing is a vacuum full of pain.
"If they are no longer with us then the idle mind imagines horrors of 'what ifs' in order to account for them being alive and not in touch.
"The 'not knowing' hurts but not as much as the thoughts that your imagination conjures in the dark hours whilst also having to try and quench the flames of 'what ifs', rumours and gossip that becomes accepted as fact.
"Knowing that Steve is now coming home is an end to all of that and the fog can lift at last.
"Our memories of him finally released without being accompanied by the horrific mental images, feelings and type of thoughts that can easily destroy you.
"In getting Steve home then we have truly found him again, and he will now continue to live through the shared memories of all that knew him."
The family thanked the police and several media outlets as well as friends and volunteers for their help in the search.