THE son of a Wirral woman who went missing on a walking holiday in Lanzarote has spoken of his frustration at the secrecy surrounding the investigation into her disappearance.
Ben Riley said there is no doubt in his mind that his mother Margaret Holt died in a freak accident while visiting the Spanish isle.
But because police in Spain treat most cases as “secret cases” – in which they refuse to share information with the public, press or immediate families – he and his family have been unable to get any “closure” or deal with his mother’s affairs.
More than a year since Mrs Holt, a retired IT worker from Spital, went missing, he said: “I don’t believe for one minute that things haven’t been done (by the Spanish authorities). It’s just that they won’t tell me.
“I’m not expecting to find anything a year on. I think it’s a tragic accident. I think she will be found one day by someone like a dog walker or never be found.
“I don’t expect miracles I just want to try and get closure for me and my wife and move on.”
Mr Riley, a company director, said the situation has left his family in “limbo” and unable to get a presumption of death certificate which would allow him to deal with his mum’s affairs.
He said: “Basically the situation is there’s no change. We don’t have any more information than we did a year ago.
“She is still down as a missing person in Lanzarote. We’ve not had any information from the Spanish authorities at all.
“We don’t know if they have made any progress in the investigation, what the information was or anything.
“It’s very difficult, I’m quite realistic that mum’s probably dead. But it would be nice to have information about what was going on. I don’t think the Spanish police have done a bad job but they just won’t tell us anything.”
Mrs Holt, 65, left her hotel in the resort of Costa Teguise on the morning of December 23, 2011.
After leaving her hotel, she was spotted later that day in the Orzola region, to the north of the island on a coastal path, but has not been seen since.
Mr Riley made an TV appeal for information which went across the world but after two weeks searching the island, he returned home.
Mr Riley, 36, said: “We haven’t been back since, there’s no reason to really.
All we really believe is that she had an accident when she’s been out walking, she’s slipped and fallen somewhere where she can’t be seen or in the sea.”
Mr Riley recently became a father. On November 17 his daughter Aoife was born. He said they were “overjoyed” by her birth and that it was a shame that his mother never got to meet her grandchild.
He added: “I think about mum every day. In a normal situation parents die and you have a funeral and mourning and then, you know, I suppose you never get over it but there’s a process. There’s no process with this.
“There’s no closure or anything. She was a happy go lucky person, retired early. She was just enjoying her retirement.
“It’s all the day to day things. With her still being alive the law in this country is a joke.
“You can’t do anything with no power of attorney. You can’t access her bank account. Not that I want to. But when it comes to taking care of her affairs you don’t have the legal right to do anything at all.
“We’re left in limbo. Merseyside Police has been helpful. But they can’t do an awful lot because it’s a ‘secret case’.”