Almost a year after botanist Jamie Taggart disappeared in Vietnam, his family has made an emotional appeal for any sightings of him.
The 42 year-old, who runs the internationally renowned Linn Gardens in Cove on the Rosneath Peninsula, as last seen on October 31 last year, when he left his hotel to search for rare plants.
“Someone, somewhere must know something,” said his father Dr Jim Taggart.
“It is very hard to disappear absolutely completely.”
Jamie, a retained firefighter, was last seen getting off a motorcycle taxi in the mountain Hoang Lien national park, near Sapa in Northern Vietnam.
The area is near the border with China, and Dr Taggart said that some local tribespeople often crossed the border.
“It seems to me over the space of a year that it is probable someone has stumbled across something, but they might not want to get involved with the local police,” he said.
“It is possible that someone might have seen him who should not have been there.”
Jamie’s passport and bag were left in his hotel room, but these have still not been returned to his family, although Dr Taggart is now optimistic that this will finally happen.
It took police four weeks to let the Foreign and Commonwealth Office know that Jamie had disappeared, and Dr Taggart said their behaviour had been ‘disgraceful’.
He said Jamie might still be found alive ‘by some very freak circumstances’ but said the most likely scenario was him slipping on a hillside and being fatally injured.
“We are not even clutching at straws,” he said: “We just don’t know anything.”
He appealed to the public who have friends in Vietnam: “Do they know someone from Scotland has been missing for a year there? Have there been any rumours?”
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond contacted then Foreign Secretary William Hague about Jamie’s case and Hugo Swire, Minister of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, wrote to the Vietnamese government urging them to review their investigation in the hope of finding new leads.
Jamie’s friends and the local community in Cove and Kilcreggan raised thousands of pounds to fund searches for him, with Hollywood star Hugh Grant, whose family used to live at Linn Gardens, making a donation.