AFTER more than two years of not knowing, the family of Charles (Charlie) Knight have been given the devastating news that his body has been found.

Here, we look back at a timeline of what happened to the 30-year-old dad from Basingstoke and how his missing person case touched the hearts of the people in the town and beyond.

At 8.30am on February 17, 2021, Charlie was at his mother Belinda Hooper’s home in Burghclere when he told her he was popping out.

Read more: Body of missing man Charles Knight found in woodland

As he stood at the back doorstep of her home, she asked how long he would be gone, and he responded to say: “I won’t be that long”.

An hour later, Charlie had not returned. Belinda rang his brother to say Charlie had not come back, before calling the police to report him missing.

Charlie, a father-of-two, did not have his phone on him.

Hampshire Constabulary categorised the case as ‘high risk’ because Charlie had depression.

Officers launched an extensive search and investigation, including searching areas of nearby woodland and following multiple lines of enquiry.

Searches took place in Newtown Forest near where Charlie disappeared, as well as areas he had connections with such as Odiham and the Wellington Estate.

Family and friends of Charlie helped with the search, spending hours out every day looking for him.

Volunteers from Hampshire and Berkshire Search and Rescue also helped with the search efforts, but nothing led to any information about his whereabouts.

On February 19 police informed the public that they were growing “increasingly concerned” for Charlie’s safety, and asked people to report any sightings.

A description of Charlie and what he was last seen wearing – a green jacket, green cap, black trousers and walking boots – was released along with a photograph.

On February 23, police asked residents in Burghclere and the surrounding areas to check their sheds, outbuildings and gardens as the search for Charlie continued.

Hampshire Constabulary also asked for any residents or businesses with CCTV that may help with enquires to come forward.

Two weeks after Charlie disappeared, police announced they would scale back their search for the missing man.

See also: Police scale back search for missing man Charles Knight

A Facebook group was set up for people to report possible sightings of Charlie, which has remained active for the last two years attracting thousands of followers.

Despite numerous suspected sightings posted by members, Charlie remained missing.

A year after his disappearance, Belinda issued a new appeal for help finding her son and told ITV News that she was “always looking, always searching” for him and would never give up. 

She added: “My heart is just shattered. We’re all grieving but there will never be any closure until Charlie is found and that’s hard to know that could be months, it could be years.”

Police also said that they would “thoroughly investigate” any new information given to them about missing Charlie and carry out “routine checks of the investigation”.

See more: Police to review evidence of missing Charles Knight and 'thoroughly investigate' new information

Hampshire Constabulary told the Gazette at the time that the file on his case would remain open.

A spokesperson said: "Alongside this, experienced detectives will be conducting routine checks of the investigation and available evidence.”

Police thanked family and the public for sharing appeals and campaigning to help find Charles.

The spokesperson added: “We are asking the community to remain vigilant and report anything untoward.”

In April this year, Charlie's missing person case featured on Channel 5 programme Vanished, where a former chief superintendent told the public that they would be key to “producing that vital piece of information”.

READ ALSO: Public are 'key' to solving case of missing Basingstoke man

Parm Sandhu, former chief superintendent for the Met Police, told presenter Dan Walker that the case would remain open until Charlie was either found or located.

She added: “It does depend on the public producing that vital piece of information, that key that could unlock that case.”

Belinda also spoke on the programme about her anguish of not knowing where her son was.

“It’s very hard to ascertain how someone can be here one minute and gone the next,” she said.

Describing Charlie, Belinda said her son was “a very compassionate person. He is very protective over me.”

The mum struggled to hold back tears when talking about what might have happened to Charlie, saying: “Every scenario goes through your head. Whether Charlie… whether Charlie took his own life. But the statistics are so high for a body to be found that you almost dismiss that.

“Then you think ‘oh my god did he have an accident while out walking?’ Then you think ‘did he get picked up that da? Is that the reason why he’s physically just gone?’ “We’ve searched and searched and nothing has come up, not a hat, not his glove, not a coat, not his boot, not anything.”

“When you have someone who’s vanished like Charlie you go through the grief and you go through depression but it’s a different kind of grief than when you lose someone in the sense they’ve passed because you eventually get to accept it but with no closure and no answers. You go through every emotion.”

Belinda said the hardest emotion was the guilt, explaining: “I was the last person to see him that day, and some days you struggle and you try and get on with every day but all you really want is to go back to that day.”

Despite police and volunteers carrying out extensive searches in nearby woodland, Charlie Knight’s body was eventually found in remote woodland near Burghclere, at 10am on Wednesday, August 9 – more than two years after he went missing.

Officers were called after human remains were located in the woodland and were identified as belonging to Charlie following formal identification.

Charlie's next of kin were informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.

His death is not being treated as suspicious and a file has been prepared for the coroner.

His family paid tribute to Charlie, saying he was “truly loved”, adding: “We as a family are totally heartbroken by what has happened, but we have each other for support and we’d really like to thank our friends and the community who rallied around us and provided their heartfelt support when Charlie went missing in February 2021.

“For the time being, we are asking for privacy so that we can be together as a family to process our loss.

“Charlie was truly loved and will be deeply missed by so many of his family and friends who all loved him very much.”