Private Investigators Hired by Family of Scottish Individual Who Vanished in Prague a Week Ago

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The family of a missing Scot who disappeared after leaping from a party boat in Prague has enlisted private investigators one week after his vanishing.

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Joop Sparkes, from Galashiels, was on an organized boat trip with friends when he plunged into the Vltava River between 1am and 2am on Sunday, April 27. The 29-year-old construction worker has not been sighted since.

Devastated sister Jodie Wilson has been combing the streets of Prague, walking miles alongside Joop’s girlfriend Charley Maben and his aunt Gillian. The family is desperate for answers and have now reached out to private investigators in a plea for assistance.

The group tracked the party boat Joop traveled on Friday night, but there were no additional clues to what might have transpired to him. They also intend to observe the boat on Saturday night and persist in searching the area – a week on from his disappearance.

Jodie told the Record on Saturday morning: “We’re just as perplexed as ever. The boat appeared to be further downstream than the point where it’s believed Joop jumped on Friday night. There must have been about 100 people onboard; it travels very slowly, and much of the time it’s just drifting. It could have only traveled about half a mile or so. It was a very short distance.

“We continue to walk the length of the river banks, inspecting buildings, checking the homeless individuals wrapped in sleeping bags, pulling clothing from the river to see if it’s Joop’s.

“Yesterday we walked 24 miles along the riverbanks and the marina. We’re also inspecting the boats to ensure he’s not either on or in the water nearby. We’ve spoken to people and asked if they’ve seen him; some are kind, and some unfortunately are very malicious.

“We’re all emotionally and physically drained, but we have to persevere. We just don’t know what to do anymore, and we need answers.

“It just doesn’t feel real. We haven’t seen police on the water since Tuesday and haven’t received any answers, so we’ve contacted private investigators, and we’re discussing with them about drone searches as well as if they can bring divers in.”

Police in the Czech Republic confirmed earlier this week they are conducting inquiries.

Joop is believed to have worn a black T-shirt when he went overboard. Despite initial reports from a fellow boat passenger, there have been no confirmed sightings of him.

His family launched a fundraiser to help offset their expenses while they remain in Prague, and so far over £11,000 has been donated.

A spokesperson for the Police of the Czech Republic was reported as saying: “I can confirm that since early Sunday morning the Prague police have been searching for a 29-year-old foreigner who, according to the announcement, jumped from a party boat near the Charles Bridge in Prague 1 and has not been seen since.

“In the place where the missing person was last seen, several search operations took place, in which policemen from the river department were also involved, but the foreigner has not been found anywhere yet.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson also said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has gone missing in Czech Republic and are in contact with the local authorities.”

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