Body found is confirmed as zoology graduate Rosie Johnson

Body found is confirmed as zoology graduate Rosie Johnson

July 2, 2019

Body found on Isle of Wight is confirmed as zoology graduate Rosie Johnson, 22, who went missing from job at PGL adventure park ‘after row with colleague’

  • Police have found a body six days after the zoology graduate went missing 
  • Formal identification is ongoing and Ms Johnson’s next of kin been informed 
  • Family members said her disappearance was ‘totally out of character’ 
  • A nearby resident, John Thorpe, 71, said she had a row before disappearing

Police have confirmed a body found on the Isle of Wight is missing zoology graduate Rosie Johnson. 

The 22-year-old had not been seen since June 23 when she was said to be in a ‘distressed state’ following a ‘row with a work colleague’. 

Police found the body on Friday while doing door-to-door searches in Wootton, Isle of Wight, and they say Ms Johnson’s death is not being treated as suspicious. 

A huge land, sea and air search was launched to find her, with police officers teaming up with the coastguard and Hampshire Search and Rescue. 


Body found: Rosie Johnson, 22, from Glasgow, went missing from a Little Canada PGL Adventure  in Wootton where she worked as an instructor after graduating (right). Police have found a body in their search for her but formal identification is ongoing

The family of Rosie Johnson – seen here, her mother Julia and her brother and sister with a police liaison officer – flew from Scotland to help police in their search

Speaking last week, John Thorpe, 71, who lives near the PGL Little Canada adventure centre where Miss Johnson worked and disappeared from, said police had searched his back garden and those of his neighbours as well as a boat he keeps on the water. 

Describing what police had told him, Mr Thorpe told MailOnline: ‘They didn’t reveal too much but they said that she was in a distressed state just before she disappeared.

‘The officers wouldn’t elaborate but neighbours have since told me that she may have had an argument with someone at the activity centre.

‘It was late when she was last seen. It would have been pitch black at that time because there’s no street lights.

Miss Johnson’s death is not being treated as suspicious by police

‘The police have twice this week searched my back garden and those of my neighbours.

‘I’ve got a boat I keep out on the estuary and they’ve looked through that and other boats as well.

‘It’s been a thorough sweep of the area but they haven’t found anything. I really hope they find her.’ 

A family member at her mother’s home near Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, last night said it was out of character for her not to have been in touch with her family, who have travelled south to help search for their daughter.

He said: ‘She’s always very good at keeping in contact’, adding: ‘We think she left to go on a walk.’ 

The last time she spoke to her mother was on Sunday – just hours before she was reported missing – during ‘one of her regular telephone calls’, he said. 

The alarm was raised after Ms Johnson failed to turn up for her shift as a field studies instructor. 

A ground search for the former Glasgow University zoology student was not launched until almost 40 hours later.

Miss Johnson lived in accommodation on the site of the PGL Little Canada adventure centre, as did her ‘on-off’ boyfriend Brendan Storer, 27.

She had been working there since February. Her social media page described her relationship status with Mr Storer as ‘complicated’. 

Dozens of police, coastguards and volunteers, assisted by a helicopter, scoured the coast near Wootton Creek, where she was last seen.

Residents were asked to check their outbuildings and boats as police said there was no evidence she had left the island. 

A map shows where Miss Johnson went missing and where the search for her took place 

Dozens of police, coastguards and volunteers, assisted by a helicopter, scoured the coast near Wootton Creek, where Miss Johnson was last seen

Mr Storer shared a Hampshire Police appeal for help solving Miss Johnson’s disappearance on Facebook yesterday with the message: ‘Please please please share.’

Describing their relationship, his sister, Charlotte, 29, from Shaftesbury, Dorset, said: ‘I would say boyfriend and girlfriend is a bit strong. Yes, they had kind of been together on occasions, but it was very casual and they just both went with the flow. Her reference to it being complicated didn’t mean anything sinister.’

One worker at the PGL centre yesterday said of Miss Johnson: ‘She is a popular, nice girl.

‘She seemed to have a lot of friends and this is totally out of character. The young workers here have a good time, but there is a lot of safeguarding… for the staff.’

He added that Mr Storer had not attended work yesterday and was believed to be helping the search.

PGL called police at 9.43am on Monday after Miss Johnson failed to show up for her shift. She was last spotted by a creek near the 50-acre site, which backs on to the water, at 10.15pm on Sunday.

Hampshire Police said hospital and CCTV checks were made on Monday, but it was not until 1pm on Tuesday – some 39 hours after Miss Johnson was last seen – that officers began a search.


Labour MSP Daniel Johnson is Rosie’s uncle and is one of a number of relatives who appealed for information

Coastguards said they were only asked to search on Tuesday afternoon.

Miss Johnson’s uncle Daniel Johnson is the Labour MSP for Edinburgh Southern.

He tweeted: ‘My niece, Rosie, is missing. Could anyone with information please contact the police.’

Inspector MacDonald said he could not reveal what Miss Johnson’s state of mind was on Sunday evening, but he added: ‘The information we have says Rosie has not been the victim of crime.

‘We are seriously concerned for her welfare. We have searched an extensive area with quite difficult terrain as there is forest and water – a real variety of challenges.

‘Information we have suggests Rosie is still on the Isle of Wight.’

He declined to answer when asked whether he believed Miss Johnson was still alive.

Retired PA Maureen Hailstone, 70, who lives next to Little Canada, said: ‘Police have been round to my house and looked in the garden and in the garage, it was a real shock.

‘I can’t imagine what her family are going through.’

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