DETECTIVES leading an international investigation into the disappearance of a man from York say they have had a major breakthrough thanks to The Press.

Dennis Crook was living in Victoria, British Columbia, when he was reported missing in October 1985, and local police appealed to North Yorkshire’s force on Wednesday for assistance in finding his sister Lillian, who they believe lived in Holgate.

Detective Chantal Ziegler, of Victoria Police Department, said although they had been unable to track Lillian down, they were contacted by another sister of Mr Crook who read about the appeal in The Press, and who was keen to help the investigation.

Det Ziegler said: “I didn’t even have time to think about the outcome, and we had an outcome.”

Det Ziegler said Mr Crook’s sister - who had not seen him for 41 years - was also able to share new information about her brother which was not previously available - he was born in Moor Monkton, studied at Archbishop Holgate’s School until 1968, and had enjoyed travelling, spending time in the US before he moved to Canada. He was last known to have been in England in 1971, when his family lived in Holgate.

She said: “We weren’t aware there was another sibling, so knowing that is good.

“It seems there was a discrepancy with his date of birth too, his sister says he’s actually 68, not 66. The focus now is trying to locate a picture of him.”

Asked why the case had been reopened so long after Mr Crook’s disappearance, Det Ziegler said the case had never been closed.

She said: “In Canada, all missing persons investigations remain open until that person is found.

“Since 2016, we have new policing standards, and needed to bring our files up to 2018 standards, and one of those changes is DNA, so part of my duty is to review historical cases when I have time - as I also review daily cases, and we have an average of two missing people every day. The person remains missing and is entered on a central database which includes details of all police records, such as recovered stolen property and DNA records from unidentified deaths.”

Det Ziegler shared some new information about the investigation. She said: “His employer and friend reported he didn’t show up to work one day. They didn’t think there was anything wrong at that time, thought he might be sick and would turn up but he never showed.

“Police went to his door and he wasn’t home, his animals weren’t being fed, his car was still there. He was just gone. There’s nothing in the investigation to indicate he met with foul play, but there’s nothing to suggest otherwise, so we have to consider all options.”

Det Ziegler said she was still hoping to receive a photo of Mr Crook from the University of Nottingham, where they know he studied for a BA degree, and said the next step in the investigation would be for North Yorkshire Police to take a sample of DNA from Mr Crook’s sister, which will be couriered to British Columbia and run through Canadian databases.

She said: “There’s a national database that we’re using for unidentified bodies, but with no matching sample, it will be helpful to have familial DNA to compare.”

Det Ziegler said she was very pleased with the response to the appeal: “It’s amazing, I’m so happy. I couldn’t believe, when I got the email, the power of social media and the internet. We can’t do this alone, we needed help. I was hoping someone might say ‘I knew him in school or university and I have a picture’. That’s what I was hoping for. So far we’re getting some responses, emails from people saying there’s a D Crook at certain addresses, two people saying they knew one sibling, so it’s been fantastic right from the start.”

Anyone who knew Dennis Crook, or can help police find Lillian Crook should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 or 01904 618691.

Alternatively, email