Three men have been arrested in connection with a murder investigation sparked after a Sunderland granddad went missing after leaving his home more than two years ago.
The men were arrested as part of the probe into the disappearance of Robert Hutchinson,
The 59-year-old was last seen leaving his home in Corporation Road in Hendon at 6.20pm on Monday, June 23, 2014.
He was last seen putting petrol in his Nissan Micra at Asda in Grangetown, with images from the CCTV system as police appealed for help to piece together his last known movements.
The car was later recovered in Stewart Street, of Chester Road in Millfield, with lines of inquiry looking at whether Robert drove it there himself or if it was driven by someone else.
Men aged 43, 48 and 57 have been questioned in connection with the unsolved murder.
Extensive inquiries were carried out to locate Robert which led police to believe he had come to harm and a murder investigation was launched.Northumbria Police spokesman
They have been bailed pending further inquiries.
Today, a spokesman from Northumbria Police said: “Extensive inquiries were carried out to locate Robert which led police to believe he had come to harm and a murder investigation was launched.
“Officers have this week arrested three men from the Sunderland area who have been bailed pending further inquiries.”
Robert’s family have previously joined police in appealing for help to find him.
His daughter Paula, who has a brother Gavin, opened her heart to talk about how she struggled to cope with the fact she does not know what has happened to her father.
In calling for help to find her father, Paula said: “It’s getting worse as they days go by.
“It’s really hard.
“I’ve asked his friends if they’ve seen him, but nobody has.
“He just seems to have disappeared.
“We just want to know what happened.”
A Crimestoppers reward of £3,000 has previously been offered for information which leads to a conviction of murder as part of the probe.
Police say Robert is well-known in Sunderland and that help from the Sunderland community is key in the investigation.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.