A family of a man missing for more than a year fears the body found in Ravensthorpe last week may be him.

Damion Vernon, 32, from Bridlington vanished in mysterious circumstances in December 2014 when he came over to West Yorkshire – and is thought to have been last seen close to the River Calder.

DNA testing on the man’s body is being carried out and compared to dental records of Damion.

His brother Aaron posted a message on Facebook saying police are now examining DNA samples provided by the family.

Video thumbnail, Watch: Police launch major investigation after body found in Ravensthorpe
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He said: “A body has been found near the River Calder, a short distance from where he was supposed to have last been seen.

“We have been in touch with the police who have obtained Damion’s DNA and dental records. There is a possibility it could be Damion but we’re holding on to the hope that it’s not.

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“We are told it could take up to three weeks until we find out.”

Damion’s family have not seen him since he left his home in Bridlington to buy a car in Sheffield, on December 8, 2014. He was reported missing the next day.

He never reached his destination but his car, a Vauxhall Corsa, was found in Sycamore Street in Wakefield.

Missing man Damion Vernon

A year on from his disappearance Chief Insp Matt Baldwin from Humberside Police said: “Images from CCTV have been watched and a search of a 35-mile (56km) stretch of the River Calder carried out but every avenue has drawn a blank.”

There was further tragedy for the family last April when Damion’s mother, 53-year-old Margaret Fox, died of a brain aneurysm.

At the time, Damion’s cousin, Lisa Farr, described Mrs Fox’s death as from “the broken heart she had from the day Damion went missing.”

She said: “Her whole world stopped when Damion left. She just stayed in the house waiting for a phone call or waiting for him to come home.”

Video thumbnail, Watch: Examiner reporter Phil Booth on the body's discovery
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The body was found last Monday by a member of the public near to Low Mill Lane, Ravensthorpe at around 9.15am. It was in a wooded area close to the River Calder.

READ MORE: Police release pictures of clothing and description of body found near a canal in Ravensthorpe yesterday

It was dressed in a No Fear short sleeved t-shirt and chino style shorts with a palm tree design – and police released these photos which sparked the line of inquiry which has taken them to Bridlington.

West Yorkshire Police say the body was a white male, aged between 30 and 50 years and between 5ft 9ins tall and 6ft 1ins tall and of slim build.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Swift of the Homicide and Major Enquiry team who is leading the investigation said: “Our investigation is at an early stage and our priority is identifying the victim, with the death presently been treated as unexplained.

Missing man Damion Vernon

“I would appeal to anyone who recognises the clothing, or who has any information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to come forward. Enquiries are ongoing.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team via 101 quoting 309 of the 14/3. Information can also be passed to the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.