UK
22/11/2013 06:17 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

John-Paul Conley, Brit Missing In Laos, Is Found Dead

Ingo Jezierski via Getty Images

John-Paul Conley, a "brilliant and funny" 35-year-old from Middlesbrough who disappeared while swimming in a Laos river, has been found dead.

Well-wishers raised more than £30,000 to fund searches of the area of Laos where John-Paul Conley, from Middlesbrough, was swept away on Tuesday.

Helicopter sweeps of the area were carried out and fishing boats were drafted in to search for the 35-year-old, who was travelling with his partner Kate Downey.

TOP STORIES TODAY

Friend Patrick Ruddy, who organised online fundraising to pay for the searches, wrote on the page: "We have had sad news from Laos.

"Early on the fourth day of searching, John Paul was found on one of the many beaches on the river and recovered by fishing boat.

"Our brilliant, funny and much-loved friend has gone.

"Now, John Paul will begin his journey home."

His partner was taking his body to Bangkok, where she will meet family members, Mr Ruddy said.

"James McTiernan, who has been an enduring support throughout, continues to be invaluable in organising what is needed," he added.

"Kate's good friends Andrew and Phillippa Mckeown have also arrived in Laos to support her. She is in very good hands.

"I have no information on how long it might take to get John-Paul home. At this stage there is very little else to pass on.

"John-Paul's family have been so moved by what you've done for him.

"You can't imagine.

"John, Angela, (his sister) Michele, and Kate's family, have all asked me to tell you that they can't thank you enough.

"Michele will be at home, helping her parents from Middlesbrough. Thank you all so much. Rest in peace Johnny mate."