‘No hope’ missing chef is alive after 15 years of mystery
The grieving parents of a Sydney chef who vanished from a Surry Hills motel 15 years ago have "no hope" left that their son is alive.
Simon Knight was just 32 when he checked into a motel on Crown St and was never seen again in a case that has baffled police for more than a decade.
But detectives hope offering a $250,000 reward for information will bring them closer to the answers his family so desperately needs.
"I'm sorry but we're not (hopeful he is alive). We have no hope that he's alive … we don't believe it," his mother Robyn Conlan said.
Mr Knight worked as a chef in Newtown, and a few other locations, and was well liked by colleagues and friends.
But 15 years on, the case still has investigators stumped.
Speaking to the media on Friday, South Sydney Police Area Commander Superintendent Andrew Holland said Mr Knight "disappeared off the face of the earth".
"Our concerns are that he hasn't activated his bank accounts and there's been no movement on any of these facilities," he said.
In 2008 police offered a $100,000 reward for information but after receiving no leads, they have increased the cash reward to $250,000.
An earlier inquest was also unable to confirm whether he was alive or dead.
"We've exhausted all our inquiries which is why we're going to the public again to assist us with this investigation," Superintendent Holland said.
Mr Knight's dad Bob praised police for their relentless efforts in trying to determine what happened to his beloved son.
He and Ms Conlan said Simon loved gardening and, at the time of his disappearance, had started studying horticulture.
"He used to drive us mad digging up the lawn to plant things," Ms Conlan said.
Just a few days before he vanished Simon arrived home incredibly "distressed" because something had not quite gone to plan during class that day, Bob added.
"Unfortunately, the first night (of the course) went wrong and he came home very distressed," he said.
"Three days later he went missing."
Ms Conlan said her son "always had a smile on his face" and had plenty of friends and good housemates.
"He was a very generous person," she said.
"The phone calls we would have on a regular basis (suggested he was happy)."
All previous investigations have "hit a roadblock" according to Superintendent Holland, who said the lack of information and Simon disappearing without a trace was very concerning to police.
Officers also have no reason to believe he had a mobile phone, and his bike was never found.
"Not activating any of his finances makes police very concerned about what's happened to him," he said.
"There are definitely concerns for his safety, but we've still left the investigation open and are treating it as a disappearance.
"Anyone who has disappeared for 15 years and there's no information … obviously there's suspicious circumstances."
At the time of his disappearance, Simon was described as being of caucasian appearance, 183cm tall, with blue eyes, a fair complexion, red hair and facial hair.
He was last seen wearing a dark green T-shirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Originally published as 'No hope' missing Sydney chef is alive