Published: 00:00, 12 May 2005
| Updated: 09:34, 12 May 2005
THE 54-year-old husband of a missing school dinner lady has been found dead in woodland.
The body of Graham Arnold was discovered by police on a route he used to walk near the Tyler Hill area of Canterbury.
Marion Arnold, a dinner lady at Whitstable Junior School, went missing last October and police and her family have repeated their appeal for information regarding her whereabouts.
Police say there is no evidence to suggest that Mr Arnold had anything to do with his wife’s disappearance which came just two weeks after she had been diagnosed with a painful brain disorder. She was known to be depressed.
The couple leave a 16-year-old son, Tom, a pupil at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Faversham, who is being cared for by Mr Arnold’s older daughter, Leonie, at the family’s home in Whitstable.
Psychiatric patient Mr Arnold, an HGV driver, was found after being reported missing by his son. Tom last saw his father leaving the house on Tuesday evening, May 3, and became worried when he received no word. Police with tracker dogs stumbled upon his body while investigating reports of a stolen car.
Mr Arnold’s sister, Yvonne Larcombe, who lives in Canterbury, said: “Marion had been diagnosed with dystonia two weeks before she disappeared and was depressed by that. It puts pressure on the brain stem and she was in agony. We were all shocked by her disappearance.
"Graham had a breakdown about a month afterwards. He was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital psychiatric unit, and was in for a few weeks as a voluntary patient. He was still a voluntary day patient at St Martin’s and had gone back to work two days a week.
“He had been talking to us about the future and just last Sunday was talking about what he was going to do for Tom. He had accepted that he thought Marion was dead but said she would be welcomed back with open arms. They were a very close couple and would do everything together.
“As a brother he will be sadly missed. He had a great sense of humour and was very popular. He enjoyed walking and was up in Tyler Hill two or three times a week.”
Mrs Larcombe said the family was divided as to whether or not Mrs Arnold was still alive, as she was vulnerable and required medication for her condition. She appealed to her to contact them if she was and for anyone who has sighted her to contact police for Tom’s sake.
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances connected with Mr Arnold’s death, and they have no reason to connect their separate investigations into Mr Arnold’s death and his wife’s disappearance.
Cause of death was not established at a post-mortem carried out on Monday when an inquest was opened.
A police spokesman said officers were still working on the assumption that Mrs Arnold was alive as there was no evidence to the contrary, and repeated calls for her or anyone who knows where she is to contact them on 01227 762055.