Date: 12 Mar 1999
Place: Bishops Waltham
Kevin Palmer went missing after a night out with friends.
He had taken a cab ride with two friends with whom it is thought he got into a fight with and was never seen again.
At the time he had been living in Malaga in Spain with his wife and child but had just returned to the United Kingdom. He had flown in from Spain on 12 March 1999 with a friend and when they arrived at Gatwick Airport they had been met by a third friend who was a convicted drug smuggler.
They had then gone to the Sir Joseph Paxton pub in Hunts Pond Road at Locks Heath and had then gone on to the Abshot Country Club where he was last seen.
It was said that he had then taken a taxi with the two men in the early hours to Bishops Waltham, but that during the journey they had got into a fight. It was said that the taxi stopped at Botley Road in Curdridge where they all got out and punches were thrown after which the two men got back into the taxi leaving Kevin Palmer behind on the ground in the Bridge Farm Industrial Estate and then went off to the man's house in Hoe Road, Bishop’s Waltham.
It was said that the two men, and a third man later went back to get Kevin Palmer, but nothing more is known.
A murder investigation was started in 2003 and the police arrested the drug smuggler on suspicion of his murder, but he was later released because there was insufficient evidence to press any charges.
The police said that they were keen to speak to the taxi driver who was never identified.
It was heard that during the initial 2003 investigation, the drug smuggler's house on Hoe Road was examined for a week by the police but nothing was found. The police at the time said that they were certain that Kevin Palmer had been taken to Hoe Road sometime that night either dead or alive.
The man whose house the police searched in Hoe Road was at the time of the investigation in 2003 serving a 12-years sentence for drug smuggling.
The police said that in particular they were looking for Kevin Palmer's suitcase, driving licence and his chunky gold necklace.
They later interviewed a man in Spain, but no developments were made.
Later, in 2009 the Coroner recorded an open verdict on Kevin Palmer's suspected death. However, he said that he was convinced that the witnesses were not telling the truth and had lied in their statements to the police because they didn't want to take the blame for his death.
Later in February 2014 the police received information and carried out a search at the Gordon Arms, in Gordon Road, Fareham. During their search they also dug up the garden there. The police added that whilst they considered their information to be tangible enough to warrant a search at the premises they did not say that they were certain that it would reveal any fresh evidence. They also added that no current or former residents at the address were under suspicion of anything. The search had included the use of specialist geological equipment and police sniffer dogs. They spent two days at the pub but called it to a halt without finding anything.
After the search the police said 'We have found nothing of significant interest. I am satisfied that we have carried out a thorough search of the grounds so that line of enquiry is now closed. We continue to look at the evidence we have so far. We still appeal for witnesses to come forward anyone with any information in relation to the disappearance of Mr palmer should contact the police.'.
The police said that the decision to dig up the garden at the Gordon Arms came after a cold-case review of intelligence gathered during the 2003 investigation. It was said that a number of abnormalities were found in the intelligence that triggered the decision to carry out the dig.
The Gordon Arms had closed in 2012 and was earmarked to be used for homes.
Kevin Palmer was a timeshare salesman and was nicknamed Jon Bon Jovi because of the similarity in their hair.