Published: 11:59, 21 January 2022
| Updated: 14:49, 21 January 2022
A man who was found dead after a search in Maidstone has been described as "a great laugh" by a boyhood friend.
Steve White was found in the Downswood area on Tuesday, after an appeal for information was launched last weekend.
Mr White and Stephen Barker grew up together in streets only a few hundred yards apart in Sittingbourne; Mr White in Brenchley Road, and Mr Barker in Bell Road.
Mr Barker said: "Our mums put us together on the first day at infants at South Avenue School and we soon became firm friends. We always travelled to school together and both went on to St John's High School initially, although after a couple of years, Steve transferred to Borden Grammar.
"But we stayed in touch and did lots of things together.
"I was very interested in wrestling and Steve would come with me to watch bouts at the Central Hall to keep me company, and once, when we were about 14, we went to the Albert Hall in London together.
"We also had a barrow that my Dad had made and we used to take that round houses, knocking on the door to ask for jumble, which we then sold to raise money for Save The Children.
"We even featured in the East Kent Gazette."
He said: "As adults we lost touch for about 40 years, but recently hooked up again through Facebook.
"Steve had a fantastic memory and reminded me of all sorts of things about our childhood that I had forgotten.
"He was a very likeable guy, very kind and popular with all who knew him.
"This is so sad."
Mr White, 57, who lived in Maidstone, was last seen in Northumberland Road, Shepway, on Thursday, January 13. He was found five days later after a police search.
He leaves four children, Lauren, Joe, Ben and Bethany.
Joe White said: "He was a very loving Dad."
Police said: "The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report is being prepared for the coroner."