THE distraught family of a Wigan man who went missing has spoken of their devastation after his body was found in woodland.
Samuel Leiper was discovered in Standish Woods, off Arbour Lane, at around 8pm on Sunday.
His disappearance on Monday, July 13 sparked a major search as Greater Manchester Police and members of the public helped to try to trace the 22-year-old from Standish.
His family has now paid tribute to a “decent and loving lad” who was looking forward to being an uncle again.
His mum and dad, Debby and Andrew, said: “We are all absolutely devastated and I know his girlfriend is absolutely distraught by all this.
“We are a very close-knit family and he enjoyed spending time with us all.
“He was also close to his grandparents, Elsie and Harold Heyes, aunty and uncle Denise and Ian Turner, his cousins Kristian and Kylie Turner and his young niece Lacey, who was his cousin’s daughter. He loved playing with her.
“He was very much looking forward to becoming an uncle again as his brother Josh’s girlfriend is expecting a baby in November. He also loved seeing her other little boy, Spencer, who he was also uncle to.
“Sam was a decent lad and we all supported him 100 per cent in whatever he had done.
“He liked a joke and a laugh and was always doing different things.
”He was always riding his bike, which he loved to do.
“He didn’t follow football or rugby, but he was very proud of his younger brother, Josh, 20, who plays rugby for St Pat’s ARLFC.
“He attended Wood Fold Primary School and later Standish High School.
“He didn’t go to college, but he had a few different jobs as he did agency work and was always well thought of.
“There are no words to describe how we feel - this is such a big shock to us all.
“Life will never be the same again but at least he is at peace now. We miss him and love him with all our hearts.
“We want to thank everybody for their support and well wishes as they gave their time to help find Sam. We just ask people to respect our privacy during this difficult time.”