The Yeates family have released the statement below:
“It is now 3 weeks since Jo disappeared and our lives were changed for ever. The days have merged into a single period of time. We have still not come to terms with the fact that Jo will never walk through the door and say ‘Hi Mum’, or ‘Hi Dad’. We feel a terrible loss and sadness, not just for ourselves, but for Jo, Chris and Greg.
For Jo, she never had the opportunity to achieve her full potential, experience all the emotions surrounding getting married, the joy of having children, and the excitement of designing and defining a family home.
Chris has lost a sister, someone with whom he could share memories with when we are gone, and someone who he knew loved him just as he loved her.
We had the privilege and pleasure of having Jo with us for around 23 years, before she moved to Bristol. We were aware that she was moving into her adult life, and that ‘home’ would not necessarily be referring to us and where we lived. We would be ‘first reserve’. We would have it in no other way. We gain solace that she had found Greg, and Greg and found her and that up until the time of her murder it was probably one of the happiest periods of her life.
Christmas was her favourite time of the year. I think she enjoyed receiving presents just as much as giving. She always stayed with us over Christmas, and still had the same stocking which she had as a young child – which was always filled with sweets etc. It was heart breaking being in her flat, with her missing, and seeing her Christmas tree with a little pile of presents next to it all wrapped by her, with the feeling that we would probably not see her alive again.
We were excited and looking forward to having Jo and Greg with us over the Christmas period, because this was the first time that either of our children had bought their partner home for Christmas. Our Christmases in the future will be a time for remembering, rather than festivities – thanks to Jo’s killer.
We have been overwhelmed by the reactions of everybody over Jo’s disappearance and subsequent murder. I truly felt that Jo would simply be just another statistic, lost in all the other violent events which occur each day, but I am heartened that this has not been the case, and that many people, through the words written and the pictures shown, have seen in Jo a small part of what we saw in her.
Over the last few days we have received many cards and letters of condolence which moved us to tears, mostly from people who have never met us or Jo. In many different ways they have been touched by her and her passing. We are most thankful for these messages.
We are currently living in a vacuum until we can put Jo to rest. Our days appear to go past very quickly even though in retrospect we don’t do very much apart from talking, and reading the cards and letters which are delivered that day. When our eyes get damp from what we have read, we remind ourselves of how happy Jo was immediately prior to her death, and of the happy times we had when we were a family of four. We feel that currently we are able to support each other, probably because of the shared emotions, experiences and memories. Inevitably, after seeing the changing news in the papers and on television, we spend a lot of time hypothesising about the events which took Jo from a happy carefree young lady to a body dumped by the side of a road – like a piece of garbage.
We maintain regular contact with the police, and continue to give them our support and assistance in any way we can. We would like to reiterate the request for any information which could relate to Jo’s death, however small or insignificant it might appear. That single piece could just enable the police to understand what happened, and identify the killer. We are optimistic that the increased reward will concentrate people’s minds on where they were on that Friday night, and what they saw which might be relevant.“