Daughter-in-law of missing Hamilton man reveals how psychic medium Kelvin Cruickshank led them to body discovery

Kate Nicol-Williams
Source: 1News

Nearly a month had gone by since Hamilton man Raymond Stirling was last seen at his home when his daughter-in-law made the decision to go to a psychic show.

Raymond, 84, had lived independently with mild dementia.

He'd just returned from a holiday with his daughter at Cooks Beach, in the Coromandel.

A father of five and grandfather to 13, his daughter-in-law Jo Stirling described him as being "a strong man but a big softie when it came to his family," who didn't say a bad word about anyone.

A carer arrived at his house on the day he had returned to give him his medication and that was the last time he was seen.

Police, Land Search and Rescue, family and the wider community started searching for him on January 16.

By day four, Mrs Stirling said the focus had been to search the river, with many boaties joining the search.

But, after finding nothing, by day 11 the police search had been suspended.

Mrs Stirling said psychic readings weren't really her style but she couldn't not take the chance, after day 27 of a continued family search.

"It was desperation, the thoughts were coming into our head we might be one of the statistics where we don’t find him," she said.

Mrs Stirling said her husband Glenn, Raymond's son, would be at home but "not be there in the moment" and she couldn't picture a future where they were not constantly thinking about their "loving Curly".

"I knew Glenn wouldn't give up and our children were beginning to start showing signs of anxiety.

"We were thinking: 'We are going to have to slow down, we can’t keep this up forever.'"

It was while visiting a show with well-known Kiwi psychic Kelvin Cruickshank, that Mr Cruickshank told Mrs Stirling he felt Raymond was not in the river.

She said her face dropped, thinking about the many hours Glenn had spent on the river after being directed there.

Hearing Raymond had died didn't come as a great shock, she said, but hearing that he would be found struck her.

She stayed behind afterwards with a friend, and Mr Cruickshank identified two areas for them to search for Raymond on Google Maps.

When Mr Cruickshank woke early the next day after a near-sleepless night, he started searching for Raymond in the Cobham Drive area, he said.

He didn't have a "hit" at the site but told Mrs Stirling he believed Raymond was closer to home and was adamant there'd be steep terrain at the second area, Tauhara Park, and she'd need dogs to help her search there.

Mrs Stirling said she'd never heard of the park before.

It was just over two hours into the fourth search for Raymond at the park, when his son Glenn discovered his body in dense bush on February 17.

"Realistically I still don't understand how he got to where he got. His capabilities were very limited, he didn't have a stick or frame," Mrs Stirling said.

She said she was driven to find her father-in-law, following Mr Cruickshank's directions and feeling drawn to the area where he was found.

She'd searched with Glenn and close friends over several days, marking off areas of the park methodically.

On the day they found his body they had made the journey from his house, trying to think like he would of, searching through the bush with sticks.

The police arrived soon after the body was located, and Mrs Stirling called Mr Cruickshank, who broke down in tears over the news.

She said finding Raymond has brought peace for them, closure to move on and deal with their emotions and the ability to lay Raymond to rest.

"We can't deny that we wouldn't have been in this area without him (Kelvin Cruickshank), that man led us to that area and we wouldn't have found Curly," she said.

Mr Cruickshank said leading Jo and Glenn to Raymond has been the most incredible experience of his life.

"It's been an amazing trip with so many tears, joy and heartache. It's bittersweet," he said.

Mr Cruickshank said he thanked the Stirling's for trusting him after taking many knocks with getting people to trust him with searches in the past.

"If it wasn't for Curly's love for his family, his strength to speak to me and want to get home, we wouldn’t be here... It's a true blessing," he said.