Six-week search comes to tragic end

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 14:40 30/12/2012
Arthur Eddie Cooper
BODY FOUND: Arthur Eddie Cooper.

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The six-week search for missing Auckland man Arthur Eddie Cooper has come to the worst possible end with the discovery of his body.

A jogger came across the remains of the 62-year-old Birkdale resident in Eskdale Bush on the North Shore on Friday. The death is not suspicious and has been referred to the Coroner.

His grieving family say while it brings some closure to nearly two months of living in limbo, they had hoped against all logic that Cooper would be found alive.

"It was the one answer we didn't want. It's a very sad time," wife Sharon Cooper said.

Cooper, who recently lost some of his memory and had been left unable to work, went missing at 1.30pm on November 22 from his Birkdale home.

His wife said she was at home with her sister-in-law when they noticed he did not return after going to retrieve something from his car.

''I was talking to him just before he went outside to his car and he was saying something about looking for a plug for his waterblaster," she told Fairfax at the time.

''A little while later I thought he had been gone for a long time so I started looking for him. I noticed his keys and shoes still inside but he had just vanished."

Cooper's wallet and phone were still at home and it was believed he only had the clothes he left in. In the time since the disappearance the family had gone through every scenario to try to make sense of it.

They had worked with police and launched a Facebook page to try and raise awareness about Cooper, with hundreds of people joining to spread the word.

Yesterday the family broke the news that Cooper had been found on the site: "Please send your thoughts as we begin to grieve his passing. This is not the outcome we had hoped for, but now have to deal with this reality. Thank you all for your support and kind words."

Dozens of messages of condolences were posted in reply, many split between sorrow and relief that Cooper had been found.

"I am so, so sorry to hear the news," wrote one friend. "What a traumatic time for the family. I am also relieved that he has been found and can be returned to his family and they will not have to spend forever wondering."

Sharon said the family are yet to come to terms with her husband's death, with his children taking it particularly hard.

"He was just a hard-workingman that tried to provide for his family and for some reason it just turned all wrong."

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Coopers body was now with the Coroner, awaiting formal identification. Once it was released the family would be able to plan a funeral.

- Auckland Now

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