Daniel James O'KEEFFE - Tragically located deceased



Missing man Daniel O'Keeffe: Human remains found at Geelong family home


Caroline Zielinski, Marissa Calligeros, Aisha Dow - The Age

The five-year mystery surrounding the fate of missing Geelong man Daniel O'Keeffe deepened on Monday with the discovery of his remains - beneath the family house where he was last seen alive.

After a desperate social media-driven national search, Mr O'Keeffe's father reportedly made the shock find underneath the house in suburban Highton, in Geelong's south-west.


"You could only imagine the feeling one would go through when discovering remains of what you believe to be your beloved son, underneath your house," Detective Sergeant Adam Forehan told reporters outside the O'Keeffe home.

"Very, very tragic really."

The grim discovery was made at the Summerhill Terrace property about 1.50pm.

In an emotional Facebook post on Monday, the O'Keeffe family said it was with "heavy hearts" that they were able to share that "Dan's remains were discovered earlier today".

The 24-year-old was last seen at his family's Geelong home about 9am on Friday July 15, 2011.

His family initially thought he may have been living with homeless people to understand what it was like to live on the streets.

Then, in November 2011, he was believed to have walked into a Brisbane medical centre and asked for a glass of water.

The family said the receptionist at the centre called them after seeing a television interview and said Mr O'Keeffe was "visibly unwell" and going by his middle name James.

Security footage was thought to have confirmed the story and the family spent two months in south-east Queensland searching for him.

Mr O'Keeffe was due to start a carpentry apprenticeship the week after he went missing. He had also not long opened a martial arts academy in Werribee and lived between his parents' house and his girlfriend's Docklands apartment.

He did not have his wallet, identification or his medication on him when he went missing.

Police confirmed the remains found on Monday afternoon were those of an adult, but the family will have to await the results of DNA tests to confirm if they belong to the missing young man.

Detectives have also not ruled out foul play.

"We're treating it at the highest level at this stage, until we satisfy ourselves that there is no suspicious activity," Detective Sergeant Forehan said.

He could not say why the remains were not discovered when police first searched the family property back in 2011.

The family's property is in a large housing estate named Highton on the outer fringes of Geelong. The O'Keeffe home – a neat white house with black-tiled roof – is nestled in a cul-de-sac.

A high-profile social media campaign, Dan Come Home, was launched soon after Mr O'Keeffe disappeared. The Facebook page searching for answers to his disappearance has more than 63,000 followers.

On the Dan Come Home website, Mr O'Keeffe was described as a "kind, gentle, friendly guy who's respected by his students, admired by his friends and adored by his family".

The website said Mr O'Keeffe had been suffering with depression and anxiety before his disappearance.

On Monday afternoon, some family members briefly stepped outside the house to talk to police officers.

Tributes began to flood the family's Facebook page only minutes after news of the grim discovery was posted.

"Your tireless effort to find Daniel will always be remembered and carried on within all those who also have loved ones missing as well as those who have not," wrote one concerned user, while another said: "I obviously don't know you or your family personally, but I think we as a community held hope with you all that Dan would eventually come home, safe. My heart is breaking for you all xx."

Others hoped the find might bring some closure for the family.

"I'm so sorry to see this. Rest in Peace Dan. Although not the outcome we wished for, I hope your family had some sense of closure. Thoughts with you at this sad time," wrote one user.

It is with heavy hearts that the family and friends of Dan O’Keeffe, update this page to share that Dan’s remains were...

Posted by Missing Person - Daniel James O'Keeffe on Sunday, 20 March 2016

with Nino Bucci

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