The dad of missing Fife man Allan Bryant has spoken of his family’s growing heartache as they mark what would have been his son’s 32nd birthday.
Just over eight years on from the Glenrothes man’s disappearance, Allan Bryant Snr says his son will “always be 23” in his mind.
He says the family are marking the day at home as they find it “harder” to deal with birthdays and anniversaries each year that passes without answers.
Allan Jnr disappeared after leaving Styx nightclub in Glenrothes in the early hours of November 3 2013, weeks before his 24th birthday.
Despite a complex police investigation and a fight for answers led by his dad, no trace of Allan has been found since.
Speaking to The Courier on Tuesday, Mr Bryant says that not knowing what happened to Allan makes it all the harder for his family to grieve.
He said: “It’s hard to take in. Over the years we used to hold events but it has just got so difficult, it only gets harder.
“Me and (Allan’s mum) Marie talk all the time about what Allan would be like now – if he’d be settled down, and if we’d be grandparents.”
He added: “It’s mentally and physically tiring, it just takes everything from you. I just seem to be saying the same thing all the time.
“As far as I’m concerned Allan will never be older than 23. The last time we said ‘happy birthday’ to him was when he was 23, and we’ll never get to do that again.
“We know the worst has happened and we know he’ll never be older than 23.”
Mr Bryant says the family’s position is difficult for a lot of people to understand, as they are unable to grieve or process their loss.
He said: “We know our child is missing, that the worst has happened, but we don’t have that resting place to visit for closure.
“People might say Allan wouldn’t want us to feel like this, but if we knew where he was or if his life had been taken some other way we wouldn’t feel like this, even if we were still grieving.
“This is a different sort of grief, and not knowing is the worst part of that. It has destroyed our lives.”
While the family’s fight for answers continues, Mr Bryant says that not knowing when news could come is exhausting in itself.
He added: “You just don’t know when the door is going knock, if it ever does knock.
“It could happen any moment, and every day is the same. Anniversaries and birthdays just make it more difficult.”
The family’s hopes of getting answers have been raised several times, including a chance sighting by Mr Bryant of officers searching land near Leslie in August.
And in September 2020, the family were notified by police after human remains were found in Glenrothes near to where Allan was last seen.
They were left in limbo as they waited for news, with police eventually confirming the remains were those of another missing man.
Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Houliston of the major investigation team said: “We remain committed to trying to get answers for Allan’s family and any new details that we receive will be fully investigated.
“I would urge anyone who may hold information which could assist us, no matter how small it might seem, to report this as soon as possible.”
Those who may be able to help are asked to call Police Scotland on 101 or email OperationToner@scotland.pnn.police.uk
They can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or call or text the charity Missing People on 116 000.