THE Mayor of Abingdon has reacted to the news of a man from the town going missing in Brazil.

Matthew Hemsley, 35, originally from Abingdon, is thought to have been murdered by a gang after he disappeared from his home in Candeias, in the state of Bahia, on Tuesday (May 28).

Mr Hemsley, who moved to Brazil seven years ago to live on a small farm, was last seen having dinner in a bar before going missing.

Mayor Andy Foulsham said he was concerned for Mr Hemsley and hoped local authorities are doing everything they could to find him.

He said: “We are obviously really concerned if someone from our town goes missing and we are sending our best wishes to his family.

“We hope he returns home safely as soon as possible.”

A spokesperson from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Offices said: “We are providing consular support to the family of a British man who was reported as missing in the state of Bahia, Brazil and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Mr Hemsley’s father Mike said he was “struggling” with his son’s disappearance.

He told the BBC: "There's no rationale at the moment, and unfortunately it may have been robbery or any number of motives, but it's not known at this point.

"It feels very odd to have lost your son. It doesn't feel right to me. I am struggling. Things seem so trivial now.

"[The discovery of a body] would give some kind of closure. Somebody must know where it is.

"It might stop me feeling the guilt that I feel that... if I'd known he was living in such a lawless place... he wouldn't have been out there."

After he left the bar, Mr Hemsley left a voicemail for his friend and was not heard from again. Four days after the disappearance, Mr Hemsley’s pregnant girlfriend received a series of chilling texts.

They read: "Don’t you realise your husband's been killed?”

“What are you doing about getting justice?'"

Police arrested a man for an unrelated crime who claims that he saw Mr Hemsley being killed, but this is yet to be verified.

When police searched the area, they discovered Mr Hemsley’s passport on his farm. His bank account has not been used since he disappeared.

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers. 

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