FAMILY members of a 23-year-old man who was found dead two days after going missing have united to say: ‘he never knew how loved he was’.
The heartbreaking tribute comes after a family friend found Curtis Bull’s body at Alver Valley Country Park, Gosport, on Thursday night following his ‘out of character’ disappearance.
Hampshire police were joined by the former bricklayer’s loved ones in a search which lasted two days and saw enquiries and posters desperately cast across the town.
Emily Bull, one of Curtis’s two sisters, said hearing her ‘amazing’ brother had taken his life felt like she had ‘lost a limb’.
The pair had previously spoken candidly about mental health struggles he faced.
‘Curtis and I were very close, best friends you could say,’ said Emily, who is 25 and now lives in Bournemouth.
‘About three years ago he came to me and said he wanted to end it so I helped him get counselling and he was seen by doctors, but it wasn’t enough.
‘Even though he was so sad he always had a smile on his face.
‘He was one of the kindest people I had ever come by and if you needed help with anything, he was there.’
She added: ‘He was so lost in himself that it was always going to end this way. He never knew how loved he was.’
After growing concerned for his welfare, Curtis’ family launched a mobile group chat and split up on Tuesday night to visit places he once frequented in a bid to find him.
But as the probe’s third evening got under way, his body was found at Alver Valley Country Park by Jaime Rae-Stansbridge, 24, the boyfriend of family friend Steph Mortimer.
‘I had just finished putting up a poster of [Curtis] when my boyfriend called me and said he had found him – he was trembling, it was horrible,' said Steph, 25 from Southampton.
‘It’s the kind of thing you see on TV but you never think it’s going to happen to someone you know. I have never felt anything like that in my life.’
She added: ‘Curt was a lovely, thoughtful person and if he could see now how much everybody cared about him he would be blown away.’
Curtis, who also went by the surname Cutler, was known by his family as someone who ‘always had to be on his feet’ and enjoyed boxing and martial arts.
After he was found, a JustGiving page was set up by his former neighbour, Lee Wright, in a bid to crowdfund £4,000 for his funeral and a contribution to a mental health charity.
Curtis’s mum, Mandy Bull, 51, has heaped praise on to the ‘absolutely amazing' people who have so far donated more than £2,100 to the effort.
‘I’m absolutely gutted, he was my friend – he was everything,’ she said.
‘But the amount of support out there, especially throughout the week as we were trying to find him, has been huge.’
Emily added: ‘Everyone in the family is so grateful and we just want to say a massive thank you.’
After being reported in The News, an appeal to help find Curtis after he went missing was shared more than 150 times.
Scores of comments paying tribute to him were later left on social media.
Chelsea Allen, from Portsmouth, said on Facebook: ‘My thoughts go out [to] family and close friends, rip Curt.’
Meanwhile Elizabeth Doherty, among many others, said: ‘Such a young lad, so tragic. Thoughts go out to all the family.’
A Hampshire police spokesman said Curtis’s death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner.
To donate to the fundraiser for Curtis's funeral, click here.