One year ago today Emergency Services attended a vehicle fire at Petit Bot, and found a car so devastated by fire that they were struggling to identify it, but that was just the start of a very sad situation.
Little did anyone know at the time, that that car would become a centre piece for one of the highest profile Police investigations of the century so far - one that would draw attention from all around the world, but also one that still wouldn't have reached a conclusive end today, a year later.
While the car was found on Monday 8 January 2018, by the Friday of that week, the discussion was centering on the potential that there were human bones in the drivers seat and a destroyed shotgun in the car - two things very unusual for Guernsey.
At the same time, a missing persons notice went out for a locallyresident Latvian man called Mikus Alps, and while Guernsey Police initially refused to confirm if the two were linked, it became clear very quickly that it was very likely to be Mr Alps' remains in the car.
12 months on from that discovery, it has been confirmed it was Mr Alps' body in the car, which belonged to him, but the investigating officers are still waiting for a specialist report to confirm a potential cause of death. Additionally, during that time, a letter was handed in to Guernsey Police which they have repeatedly described as "sombre and reflective". It was written by Mr Alps in the days before he died, and was handed in to Police by a friend.
People commenting on social media posts, like the one above, have been becoming increasingly critical of the slow pace of the Police investigation. It has left family and friends of Mr Alps in limbo ever since his death. The next official update is now expected in March.
Pictured: Mikus Alps when he was fighting in Ukraine.
Early on in their investigations, Guernsey Police decided to keep any information they had close to their chest, but members of the public quickly started discussing what they knew on social media. One thing has stuck out ever since, and that was Mr Alps' involvement with fighters in Ukraine, who are battling pro-Russian groups in the country.
Allegedly, he used to take equipment from Guernsey across to Ukraine, including clothing and food. He was also interviewed in a documentary looking into the fighting (pictured above). On receiving news of his death, a colleague from Ukraine spoke out about Mr Alps and accused the Russians of murdering him in Guernsey because of his involvement in the fighting.
Guernsey Police have said they have no information to back this theory up, but nonetheless, it was a theory that drew the attention of the world.
Rumours have been right at the heart of the investigation into Mr Alps. At one time, media around the world were speculating whether Mr Alps may have been killed by a Russian group, as he was fighting against them in the Ukraine. A quote from his commanding officer was circulating accusing that group of being responsible for his death.
One of the most revealing parts of this investigation so far came during the summer of last year, when a friend of Mr Alps, Neil MacDonald, was sent to prison for being involved in the supply of drugs. As he was sentenced, a great deal of information about the death of Mr Alps came to light through the court hearing.
Mr MacDonald was visited by Police because his friend was missing, and it was then that he was found to have been dealing cannabis. He was only caught because he directed the officers to two bags that Mr Alps had given to him to look after a few days earlier. Two shotguns and ammunition were found inside them.
Since that hearing, there has been little progress on the Police investigation, publicly at least. They have continued to battle rumours - which have been swirling around the entire case since the start, a year ago - but have not been able to take many steps forwards because of delays dealing with the UK's Home Office.
Guernsey Police are still waiting on a Specialist in the UK to complete a report on how Mr Alps died, based on the evidence available. At the end of December, the then Head of Law Enforcement, Patrick Rice, issued the police's latest statement, in which they said they still had not received that report, but were expecting it in March. That will be 15 months after Mr Alps body was found. Mr Rice has since retired from law enforcement and Ruari Hardy has been appointed in his place.
But questions and rumours continue to surround the case. They go as far as to question whether the remains found were truly Mr Alps. Exactly how he died is also still unanswered and will remain so until a definitive answer can be given by Police.
Pictured top: Mikus Alps and former Chief of Police Patrick Rice with the car found at Petit Bot.
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