Mark and Faye Leveson are comforted by a family friend after human remains were uncovered. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
“Stunned, shocked, relieved.”
That was the mix of emotions Mark and Faye Leveson said they were experiencing after police found remains which are consistent with their missing son, Matthew Leveson.
Police were about an hour away from calling off search efforts on Wednesday, the last day of searching, when bones were spotted.
The excavator scouring the search area in Sydney’s Royal National Park came to a halt around 2:30pm.
“They said, ‘we’ve got something, we think we’ve found Matt’,” Mr Leveson said.
“We were then able to go across and pay our respects.”
A olice forensics officer stands at the site where human remains were uncovered. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
While DNA confirmation that the bones are Matthew’s must still occur, the Levesons said “things are looking good”.
“Our goal was to bring Matt back home and lay him to rest and now hopefully we can do that,” Mr Leveson said.
The 20-year-old was last seen outside Sydney nightclub ARQ in September 2007 with his boyfriend at the time Michael Atkins.
Wednesday’s dig was the 20th by police after eight days of searching in November 2016, four days in January 2016 and eight days in the past few weeks.
Both Mr and Ms Leveson have also conducted countless searches over the last decade, trying to work out the logistics of where their son could be buried.
“It’s been nine years, eight months and eight days but we made a promise and we kept it and now we can lay him to rest if it turns out to be Matt,” Ms Leveson said.
“And our boys won’t have to go through their lives looking for their brother.”
Matthew Leveson was last seen leaving a nightclub on September 23, 2007. (Supplied: Mark and Faye Leveson)
‘Don’t mention that name’
Police found the remains at the same roadside location they searched five months ago following information received from Mr Atkins.
Mr Atkins was acquitted of Matthew’s murder by a jury in 2009, but was compelled to give evidence last year at a coronial inquest into his partner’s disappearance.
Mr Atkins’ cooperation with police followed an unprecedented deal struck with the NSW Attorney-General, giving him immunity from prosecution for perjury at the inquest in return for information leading to the recovery of Matthew’s body.
Matthew Leveson and his former partner Michael Atkins, two weeks before Leveson disappeared. (Supplied: Faye Leveson)
When asked how they felt about Mr Atkins’ situation now that remains have been found, Ms Leveson responded: “Don’t mention that name.”
“He could have ended this….but he chose not to,” Ms Leveson said.
“He chose to stay in Queensland and not come down. He could have been down here helping but no he didn’t.”
Mr Leveson said: “The accused has all the rights, we have none, that’s the system.”
Detective chief inspector Gary Jubelin of the NSW Police homicide squad said examination of the remains will take a number of days and the crime scene is currently being preserved.
“Specialist police and the forensic anthropologist [will be here] making sure we gather all the evidence that’s here,” he said.