Mother’s plea: ‘Someone can give my son back to me’
THE family of a missing man, presumed murdered, have made an emotional public plea for answers over his disappearance, saying their minds cannot rest until he is found.
Michael Jeffrey Purse, 32, was last seen in February this year and was reported missing to police on April 24.
Major Crime detectives took over the case on May 20 and launched a homicide investigation into the disappearance of Mr Purse, who they fear has met with foul play.
Mr Purse's mother, Donna Ipers - who now lives in Germany - said someone knew what had happened to her son and asked them to provide the answers she desperately sought.
"His calls don't come anymore, I don't hear his jokes, his stories are gone. He always told me he loved me - I don't hear that anymore either," Ms Ipers said.
"I can't call him, I can't see him or touch him and, worst of all, I can't find him. I couldn't keep my promise to protect Michael.
"Someone knows what happened to my son. Someone knows how to allow me to do the last thing I can do as his mother.
"Someone can give my son back to me so I can visit him and talk to him again even though I know he won't be answering me."
Mr Purse's father, Jeffrey Purse - who travelled from NSW along with his son, Andrew - said his family thought about the fate of their son and brother every hour of every day.
"There is probably nothing more devastating for us as parents than to lose our son or for his brother Andrew and sister Kellie to lose their Big Brother," Jeffrey Purse said.
"It's made worse by not knowing where Michael is.
"His mother, Donna, has also had to endure the tyranny of distance while coming to grips with Michael being missing."
Inspector Billy Thompson, from the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch, said detectives knew that people had information about what happened to Mr Purse.
"I'm asking them to do the right thing by Michael and by his family, who do not deserve to be in this terrible limbo," Insp Thompson said.
The Advertiser revealed in June that Mr Purse was jailed in August 2014 over tax fraud.
The IT business entrepreneur pleaded guilty to 22 counts of dishonestly obtaining a gain by providing false statements to the Australian Taxation Office between 2009 and 2010.
He acquired more than $100,000 in illegal refunds to several businesses which he had set up to buy online domain names.
Mr Purse had developed an algorithm that alerted him when the licences of popular domain names were about to expire.
It allowed him to buy potentially profitable names as soon as they came on the market.
Mr Purse was jailed for 15 months and was also ordered to repay his $130,143 ATO debt.
One-time associates of Mr Purse previously told The Advertiser that he owed money to drug dealers and other dangerous characters.
Former roommate Eli said Mr Purse initially had been a calming influence but fell off the rails shortly after being released from prison for fraud offences.
"He had a real penchant for ice and pharmaceuticals," Eli said. "They started to consume his whole world."
Eli said he was not surprised about the police investigation into Mr Purse's disappearance.
"This was probably a long time coming for him," he said. "He was ripping people off and scamming them out of money or drugs and made a lot of enemies as a result."
Former landlord Alex Powell said he was forced to go to court to remove his wayward tenant.
"I'm not quick to judge people and I had known him for a while so I was happy to let him move in," Mr Powell said.
"But then he stopped paying rent and we knew he was using a lot of drugs. We had to go to court to get some of the money back. After he left people still came looking for him.
"I had people who he owed money to knocking on the door for months after he left."
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Mr Purse should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at crimestopperssa.com.au