By ALANA MITCHELSON
A post-mortem examination has failed to identify suspicious circumstances in the suspected death of Highton’s Daniel O’Keeffe, according to Victoria Police.
Geelong detectives will now prepare further reports for the coroner after skeletal remains were found under the O’Keeffe family home in Summerhill Terrace on Monday.
Investigations have yet to formally identify the remains as belonging to Mr O’Keeffe, who sparked a nation-wide search after disappearing in 2011.
“Other forensic examinations including DNA testing will also take place to assist in the identification process,” Victoria Police said on Wednesday.
“The current circumstances surrounding the death are not considered to be suspicious but a thorough investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of death.”
Reports earlier this week of “the deceased being dug up” were wrong, Victoria Police said.
“There was no digging required to remove or recover the deceased.”
Mr O’Keeffe’s father, Desmond, was reported to have discovered the remains.
Detective Sergeant Adam Forehan, who has led the investigation since Mr O’Keeffe’s disappearance, said police received a call from the family about 1.50pm Monday.
“Obviously the family of Dan have been searching for him for a long time and that would have been an arduous and emotional task,“ Det Sgt Forehan said.
“Given the nature of the circumstances, it would be quite confronting I can imagine.”
Mr O’Keeffe, a Brazilian jujitsu instructor, was last seen leaving his family home in July 2011, aged 24. He took no personal belongings apart from his mobile phone.
Mr O’Keeffe suffered depression and anxiety before his disappearance.
A receptionist reported sighting him at a Queensland medical centre in November 2011.
Mr O’Keeffe’s sister, Loren, led the national search with the rest of the O’Keeffe family. She founded Missing Persons Advocacy Network in 2013 to support friends and families of people who had disappeared.
The family’s Dan Come Home website and social media campaign accumulated over 65,000 followers.
“It’s the not knowing that eats you up,” Desmond O’Keeffe told the Indy three weeks after his son was reported missing.
The family released statements on Facebook this week, confirming reports of the remains discovery.
“It is with heavy hearts that the family and friends of Dan O’Keeffe update this page to share that Dan’s remains were discovered earlier today,” the statement said.
“Our focus has always been two-fold: to raise awareness about the vulnerabilities of missing people in Australia and to ask that you harness people power to help the families left behind.
“We have united a community, which is a beautiful thing. None of this has been in vain and that’s all thanks to you.”
The statement described Mr O’Keeffe as a kind, loving person who brought joy to his family.
“We have been overwhelmed by the love and support from the community during our five-year search and are especially thankful for the outpouring of support we have received overnight.”
Anyone needing help with personal issues can phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.