'Our lives will never be the same' - tributes paid to Elliot Burton
The family of Elliot Burton have thanked the public for their support in the search for the missing teenager.
Elliot, 15, was last seen in Eastmoor last Thursday morning.
And in the days following his disappearance, more than 6,000 people joined a Facebook group dedicated to finding him and dozens joined in searches of places around his home.
But on Tuesday police confirmed that a body found in water off Boundary Lane, Normanton, had been identified as Elliot.
Emily Rusling, Elliot’s cousin, said: “My little cousin Elliot was found but yet he’s still missing - missing from our lives.
“Elliot was a kid who was loved by everyone who knew him.
“The real Elliot, the kind of kid who’d spend his afternoon cutting his neighbours hedge, for nothing!
“The kid who chatted away with the old dears, the kid who went to church with his nana on Sundays.
“Our lives will never be the same now.
“I cannot describe the emotional torture that my family have been through in the past five days, but now we have some answers we can start to grieve and give Elliot the peace, respect and dignity that he deserves.
“My family wants to thank every single genuine person who has taken the time to help in the search for Elliot.
“Whether it was printing posters, door to doors to ask for sightings, sharing posts, putting his pictures in your windows, checking through CCTV, organising search parties or spending hours in the rain looking for our little Elliot, no matter how big or small, we are forever thankful.
“West Yorkshire police have said of all the missing people they’ve had reported, Elliot’s case was like no other in the way in which the community pulled together as one to find him!
“They said they’ve never had a response from the public the way that you all have, which I think says it all about the type of person Elliot was.”
The family have left messages for Elliot attached to padlocks on the Kirkthorpe Weir, at the Southern Washlands, and are encouraging others to do the same.
They also thanked West Yorkshire Police for their hard work and praised the “compassionate and respectful” officers with whom they had dealt.
A JustGiving page in Elliot's name has already raised almost £1,500.
Floral tributes left at Wakefield Trinity stadium
More than 300 people attended a vigil for Elliot at Wakefield Trinity’s Belle Vue home, where balloons and lanterns were released in his memory.
Speaking at the vigil, Michael Carter, chief executive of Wakefield Trinity, said: “I’m overwhelmed by how many people have come down tonight.
“It goes without saying that this is a sad, sad day.
“Elliot was a fine young man, somebody that I met on a few occasions and a dedicated supporter of this club.
“I can’t imagine to begin thinking what his family are going through now.”
At the memorial event on Monday evening, dozens of floral tributes, signed shirts and candles were left at the North stand of the ground, the place where Elliot watched his team play.
One card left at the scene read: “Elliot, you’re going to be the brightest star and most beautiful angel. Love always, goodnight and goodbye.”
A number of signed Wakefield Trinity shirts were also left at the stadium.
Elliot was an avid Wakefield Trinity fan, and the club had shared the appeal on their social media in the days following his disappearance.
It is understood that the tributes will be left in place at the stadium until the team play Hull on Sunday, August 11.
A spokesperson for Elliot’s school, Outwood Academy City Fields, said: “We are all heartbroken at the news and would like to extend our sincere condolences and thoughts to Elliot’s family and friends.
“As the school is currently closed for the holidays, students and staff will remember Elliot collectively when the school opens again in September.
“In the meantime, as the school community processes the tragic news, we are trying to put in place some support services for students affected by the news, and once confirmed we will publish these details.”