A son who vanished without a trace
TWO days before Kasper Ellis vanished, he walked into a spider's web while he was helping his father in the garden of the family home.
With a high pitched squeal, he tore around the side of the house to his dad.
"He was shrieking that he had spiders on his back - he'd felt things crawling on him. So I just dusted him off. And he was laughing but he was scared," David Ellis said.
It's this - more than any of the other strange inconsistencies - that plays on the Ellis' minds. Kasper was not a man who liked the outdoors.
He had never been to Woodridge, south of Brisbane. So why does the last sighting of their son put him walking into the nearby 900ha Karawatha Forest Park? A park filled with all kinds of wildlife - spiders, snakes, kangaroos. A park that is quiet and dark just metres inside its entrance.
On December 24, 2015, Kasper, 25, asked his mother, Ruth, to drop him at the train station. He had plans to visit a friend who lived in Rocklea.
But rather than getting off there, CCTV footage captured him alighting at a much later stop - Trinder Park near Woodridge.
The train station is just metres from the entrance to the forest - a place Kasper had never mentioned to them and his parents had not even heard of.
Not long before he disappeared, Kasper, who had been living in Sydney, moved home to his Brisbane-based family.
He had been in a long-term relationship and had moved south with his boyfriend but the pair had split, and a devastated Kasper returned home to live with his parents.
David and Ruth said their son had not spoken about any plans he had for the future, but had been busy reconnecting with old friends.
Two years after his disappearance - and with no clues as to his whereabouts - they turned to a private investigator to help track Kasper's last movements.
Oliver Laurence, from OJT Investigations Group, has flown around the country tracking down those closest to Kasper.
Some have been more open than others. Kasper's parents now know that soon before he disappeared, he opened a Bitcoin account and used it to purchase something worth $50 or $60 from the "dark web". There is no way of knowing what it was.
Mr Laurence has liaised with police, the coroner's office, submitted right-to-information applications and tracked down Kasper's friends and associates.
"We're going through the investigation from the start and going back, trying to rewind Kassy's life, six months prior to his disappearance to try and see if his friends saw any concerns or any red flags," he said.
Mr Laurence said many of Kasper's friends had been concerned about his mental state. His former partner is convinced that he's still alive.
"He strongly believes that Kassy will be off somewhere painting or doing something on a farm," he said.
A letter Kasper wrote to his parents before he left was ambiguous, Mr Laurence said, and included the line: "This may take a while."
"And it has taken a while. It's coming up to three years."
Mr Laurence now wants to make contact with a man who spoke to David and Ruth in the Karawatha Forest Park, who approached them as they tacked flyers to trees.
"It was an old guy riding a bicycle," David said.
"He saw a missing person flyer that we stapled up on to a tree and said, 'oh, I think I've seen that person'.
"He said he thought he'd seen someone like Kasper walking through the forest in a sort of confused or dazed way some time ago. It wasn't (just) after Kasper left, it was some time after that. Many months after Kasper had gone."
Anyone with information on Kasper Ellis should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or OJT Investigations Group on 1800 842 075.