Daniel O'Keeffe's sister speaks for the first time about the tragic discovery of his body.

It was just six weeks ago that the O’Keeffe family’s search for their lost son and brother came to an abrupt end.

Having spent five years searching for 24-year-old Dan, who went missing while visiting his parent’s home, his body was tragically discovered on their property by his father, Des.

Now Dan’s older sister Loren, who was tireless in her search for her brother, has broken her silence, speaking to The Project‘s Carrie Bickmore.

Loren speaks to Carrie Bickmore on The Project. Source: Channel 10.

"I'd thought about a lot of different scenarios over the years, but getting that call from dad to say that he had found Dan, and where he had found Dan was just unbelievable," Loren said through tears.

"Dan was always special because he was the baby; he was the baby boy. He and I were a team, and then the two older sisters were a team, so I kind of feel like I've lost my side kick.

"But it's weird, because you know, I've felt that loss for five years, it's just now it's a bit more real and it's permanent," Loren told Bickmore.


The O'Keeffe's Geelong home. Source: Channel 10.

When news broke that the 24-year-old's body had been discovered in a cavity underneath the family home, waves of shock and confusion swept the nation, with many focusing on macabre details like how a body could remain underneath a house for so long undiscovered.

Speaking of Des' tragic discovery Loren said, "All I know is that he was cleaning out an unused storage area and he got to the end of this area, this space underneath the house, and he saw a very tight corridor that lead to a very remote area, and it was very dark, and..." choking up, Loren continued, "I mean, I respect that Dad doesn't want to elaborate on those details. And I don't really want to know."

Dan O'Keeffe. 

At the time of his disappearance, Dan had been fighting a long battle with depression, but taking medication and seeing professional therapists. He was active within the community, had a girlfriend and was set to begin an apprenticeship.

Having gone to stay with his parents for a few days, it was revealed by Loren that Dan had forgotten his antidepressants on that particular visit.

"We're still waiting for the report from the coroner," she explained, "but we now know that Dan did decide to end his suffering that day."


Loren speaks to Carrie Bickmore on The Project. Source: Channel 10.

Having quit her job all those years ago to search for her brother, there is one good thing to come from this grief, the Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN).

Created by the O'Keeffe family, the network aims to support the families and friends of those searching for a missing person, from basic administrative tasks like cancelling a bank account to therapy and ongoing support.

"Everyone who knew Dan will have their own beautiful memories of him, but we really - the important thing that's come out of this is MPAN. That's his legacy, so this work that we do has never been more important to me."

Loren speaks to Carrie Bickmore on The Project. Source: Channel 10.

Finally, Loren conceded there is a sense of closure all this sadness, it's not without its own problems.

"There's a relief in that I know he's not out in the cold and rain," Loren admits, "but the cost of that relief has been the total destruction of a hope that had just grown over five years."

If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or find information online hereYou can find out more about the Missing Person's Advocacy Network here.

Tags: current-affairs , family
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