The husband of Helen Slaughter has said he and the family are ‘absolutely devastated’ after her body was found in woods near Arundel.
Ken Slaughter, from Barnham, said that when he got a call from police to say remains had been found nearby, his first thought was that officers were calling about a possible sighting earlier this year of Helen in the Midlands.
He said: “It was a total shock and it always will be. We wish she was still here, we miss her very much.
“We’re just shocked and it’s something we’ve got to get through.
He said he and the family had been up to the spot where Helen had been found, which he said was just minutes away from their home.
Helen had been missing since November 1 2017, with numerous public appeals for her to come home.
“It just feels absolutely awful. There’s no worse news than this,” Ken said.
“We were hoping that she was the lady up in the Midlands, we kept hoping that she’d somehow get in touch with us but we were dreadfully mistaken.
“She was near to us all the time.”
He described Helen as a ‘lovely person’ and a ‘wonderful mum’ to their three sons, Tom, Jack and Seth, who she would often take on camping trips.
He said Helen, who was 48 when she went missing, loved children and enjoyed her work in a nursery and primary school and also as a child minder.
Another of her passions was animals, and Helen kept a pony, two dogs, cockatoos, and a tortoise, which Ken said he would keep looking after for her.
Before Christmas, Ken had gone to a carol service for families of missing people and he said he had had hope right up until police had confirmed Helen’s identity.
“One of the ladies, her son had been missing and come home after six years and we were hoping that it would be like that and one day she would come back but we’ve got nothing to hope for now.
“We’ve lost her forever and we’re going to miss her forever too.”
He said police had told him they may never find out what happened to Helen but they did not think there were any suspicious circumstances.
An inquest date has yet to be set.
Ken gave his thanks to everyone who had given messages of support and said he knew Helen would be missed by many people.