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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 11:44 GMT
Hope fading for backpacker family
Leanne Cox
Leanne arrived in Thailand just before Christmas
The parents of a Teesside backpacker missing following the Asian tsunami, are coming to terms with the likelihood their daughter is dead.

Leanne Cox, 23, from Hartlepool, arrived in Thailand before Christmas and was last seen on Phi Phi, prior to the water sweeping in on Boxing Day.

Her father Alan and stepmother Diane said friends told them how they had seen her trying to climb a tree.

Mr Cox says a website launched in memory of Leanne has helped him cope.

Leanne left England in November 2003 after graduating from university to go travelling with friends.

They spent a year in Australia, then went on to New Zealand and Singapore before arriving in Thailand.

Mr Cox now admits there is little hope of finding his daughter alive.

He said: We are in touch with a police liaison officer who is keeping us informed of things.

The website isn't just for Leanne it's for people all over the world.
Alan Cox

"We've given DNA samples so that if they find a body they might be able to identify her from that.

"But the chances are, of course, that they won't ever find her body.

"We still hope for a miracle and that she will somehow turn up, but as the days go on the reality of the situations kicks in more and more.

"It's a desperate grieving time really."

Mr Cox said a website set up with the help of his software designer son-in-law, has helped to keep him occupied during the difficult three weeks since the tragedy.

It features pictures of Leanne and also a message board.

He added: "The website isn't just for Leanne it's for people all over the world.

"If some people can get some comfort from it, then it has been worthwhile."

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