by Kathryn Williams
Rachel Elias believes more could have been done to find her brother at the time he went missing
The sister of Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards has spoken about her family's loss ahead of the 20th anniversary of his disappearance.
Rachel Elias, who spoke to The Sun, said she was at the time concerned, and still is, about the lack of effort put into searching for missing young men, and says her brother - who was last seen at 7am on February 1,1995 - could still be alive.
Rachel, who believes more could have been done to find Richey at the time of this disappearance, said: "He wasn't actively searched for and I hoped that would have been different.
"The contradiction with the police is that they see lots of young adult men disappear and they say 'he's a man who's gone away. He's got his civil liberties, he's got a right to go.'
"There seems to be a lack of sympathy with missing young adult men and I don't think that has changed much."
Richey, who suffered with depression, was last seen at the Embassy Hotel, London before his Vauxhall Cavalier was found near the Severn Bridge with a flat battery. On the day he vanished he and Manics lead singer, James Dean Bradfield, were due to fly out to America on a promotional tour.
"Richard's car was found in the car park but there was no search of the river," adds the 45 year-old who volunteers for the charity Missing People.
Insisting there's a possibility her brother is still alive, she says: "We've never been able to determine why his car's battery was flat, either he had to get out of the car because it wouldn't go or he'd deliberately run it down.
"It's a total mystery. He even put the steering lock on the steering wheel, which is also quite odd.
"Why would you worry about someone stealing your car if you were chaotically thinking of ending your life?"
Despite the police taking two years to check the CCTV from the Severn Bridge, Rachel was not waiting for someone else to dig up information on her brother, she took a hair sample to the Met Police for them to match it against all unidentified bodies, but had no luck.
Richey was declared dead in November 2008 - a process the family had to take in order to wind up his affairs.
"There's an unreal element to it because we don't really know if he's dead," adds Rachel who wants to see a change in the law so relatives of missing people can be guardians of their affairs and don't have to declare them dead.
Sadly Rachel and Richey's dad Graham died before he could find out what happed to his son, "my dad died never knowing what had happened to Richard," says Rachel.
"You have to wake up to the possibility you will never know."
[Originally published: Western Mail, 29 January 2015]