A DEVASTATED mum has thanked those who helped her family during the traumatic nine months since the father of her children went missing.
Lisa Gleaves said she is trying to get her life back on track after the inquest into the death of her ex-husband Darren Waller found he had fallen asleep in a field amid freezing January weather and never woke up.
She now wants to thank those who have supported their children, Kayleigh, 16, Ellie, eight, and five-year-old Leah, and helped her during the difficult time.
Lisa also says she owes a debt of gratitude to the police and a dog walker named as Andrew Williamson, who found Darren’s body five months after he vanished.
Lisa, 36, from the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool, said: “If it wasn’t for the man with his dog, Darren may never have been found.
“I don’t know who he is and only heard his name at the inquest, but I want to say thank you for helping bring things to a close.
“I also want to say thank you to the police, they have helped us all the way through and couldn’t have done any more for us.”
Kayleigh successfully completed her GCSEs while not knowing exactly what had happened to her dad, and Lisa said all the family have battled through the tears as they get on with their lives.
Lisa, who said she remained good friends with Darren after their split, added: “It’s been absolute agony. Emotions have been all over.
“I have been trying to grieve but I can’t because you have to be strong for the children.
“I just want to comfort my kids and move on. It’s time to draw a line and get on with things but we will all miss him so much and always will.”
Officers and detectives had taken part in extensive searches after Darren, who lived in Alma Street, Hartlepool, was reported missing on January 9.
They scoured caravan parks, empty houses and industrial wasteland in a bid to find him and supported Darren’s family in numerous appeals, which culminated in an appearance on BBC’s Missing 2011 national TV programme.
But their efforts were in vain and on May 18 his body was found on grassland on Hartlepool’s Central Estate.
It was confirmed two days later that it was Darren after dental records were used for identification.
A post-mortem examination found the recovering heroin addict had recently taken a large amount of prescribed methadone coupled with diazepam.
Hartlepool Coroner Malcolm Donnelly recorded a verdict of accidental death on Thursday after bringing an inquest into the long-running saga to a close.