THE devastated mother of student Antoine Maury has thanked those who helped in the search after a body was discovered.
Human remains were recovered from Duddingston Loch yesterday, close to where the young Frenchman was last seen alive.
Writing on social media Laura Vesterinen Maury confirmed that her worst fears had come true.
She said: “For all of you out there and particularly to all of Antoine’s older friends, my beloved son’s body was recovered in the Duddingston Loch.
“Antoine would had turned 22 on the December 31 this year. Thank you all for your help and support during the last five and a half weeks. God bless you all.”
The find was reported to police at 10.30am on Friday. Witness Christina Tillbrook said: “I was going to feed the ducks with my sister-in-law and kids and the emergency services descended on the area out of nowhere.
“There was about six police vehicles, three fire trucks, an ambulance and a water rescue boat.”
Christina was parked near the Loch and was instructed to move her car to allow the rescue boat access to the Loch.
“No pedestrians or vehicles were allowed in to the area.”
Emergency service divers entered the water at approximately 11.20am to recover the body.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police in Edinburgh can confirm that a body has been recovered from Duddingston Loch.
“The discovery was reported to police around 10.30am on Friday, December 2.
“Inquiries are ongoing to establish the man’s identity.
“The family of Antoine Maury have been informed of this development.”
Previous searches of the area by police failed to discover the body despite a Police Scotland Marine Unit deployed alongside specialist searchers within Holyrood Park.
The Marine Unit scoured the 12ft-deep Duddingston Loch for clues with no results.
Mrs Maury, who had been due to return to Scotland this week to continue the search, said: “The search had been intensified in some parts around Duddingston Loch – on one side behind the lake. It made me feel sick to my stomach.”
She described her son as a “great guy,” “kind, thoughtful and intelligent” with friends past and present speaking of his kindness.
The 21-year-old had declared himself an atheist and was a staunch defender of women’s rights though his mother has insisted he was not an “activist type”.
His family had believed he may have travelled over the border in a car and had refused to rule out the possibility he may have been abducted.
Antoine suddenly left friends at Edinburgh College’s Milton Road Campus at on October 24 at around 10pm.
Less than an hour later, a topless man matching his description was spotted by a dog walker in the Duddingston Village area of Holyrood Park.
His mobile phone, jacket, beanie hat and grey top were later discovered beside Duddingston Golf Club.