The family and friends of an Irish man missing in Malaysia for five weeks are to hold a get together in a bid to raise money to finance a private search for him.
Malaysian police authorities are following a number of possible leads in the search for missing tourist, 32-year-old Stephen Warde from Kinvara, Co Galway.
Mr Warde was last seen on CCTV footage outside Mercu Summer Suites on Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur on December 28 last.
He last made phone contact with friends and family on New Year’s Day. It is understood he had been to Malaysia once in the past.
His family are offering a €4,400 reward for any information that could lead directly to finding him.
Police have already advised his family to hire a private detective to help in the search as they launched a fundraising campaign.
In a Facebook post, on the Help Find Stephen Warde in Malaysia the post reads: “The friends and relations of Stephen’s family are holding a meeting in the pier head at 8pm on Tuesday, February 12.
The post adds: “ This is an extremely stressful situation, both emotionally and financially and we are asking anyone who is willing to assist in fundraising to come along and share your ideas.
“Unfortunately there has been no breakthrough in the investigation to date, however his family are hopeful that the private investigation team can determine Stephens whereabouts.
“His family would like to thank everyone for kind messages over the last number of weeks - they are determined to find Stephan and hugely grateful for the amazing support which has been shown by everyone.” The meeting is to be held in the Pier Head in Kinvara.
A gofundme.com fundraising page has also been set-up to help finance the search for him which has so far raised more than €12,000.
The young man is described as being a quiet and placid man with dark brown hair, brown eyes, 5’11” in height, of a heavy set and was last seen wearing a blue and purple T-shirt, khaki shorts and black sneakers.
Mr Warde, who works in e-commerce is from a large family, was last, a day before his tenancy was to expire. He had been due to fly to Thailand on the same day. All of his belongings were still in the unit rented by him when searched by police.
His mother Mary, brother Donal and two sisters are now in Malaysia assisting in the search for him.