A family has paid tribute to a 26-year-old man who was found dead on a beach after a five-week search.
Gabriel Kariuki disappeared on May 17 and his body was tragically discovered at Seaton Carew, County Durham, on June 25.
The man graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2017 and recently moved to Hartlepool, where he lived with his mum.
Gabriel’s family described him as a “loved son, nephew, cousin and friend”, Teesside Live reports.
His cousin, who does not want to be named, said: “Gabriel touched our hearts in a way we will never be able to describe.
“It’s hard to comprehend that you’re gone, Gabriel. He was just a gentle soul, a very gentle soul.
“He would go out of his way as your friend to make sure you were OK. He just went above and beyond.”
Gabriel was also described as a “sporty and athletic young man” who enjoyed rugby, basketball and boxing.
He was known by his initials ‘GG’ – Gabriel Gatu – as his cousin said: “Everyone knew him as GG. GG has got you, don’t worry.”
Cleveland Police launched an investigation after Gabriel went missing and his family now thanked all his friends and Hartlepool residents who tried to help.
His cousin added: “The people of Hartlepool have been so lovely. We were handing leaflets out and they’d take the leaflets from us.
“Small and big businesses put up posters – they’ve just been so kind and the neighbours have been so kind too.
“The level of kindness you can’t even begin to understand. People have been so selfless and it’s so appreciated.
“Even the guy who was printing posters, the gentleman he was so kind – an absolute diamond.”
The family have also thanked Cleveland Police for their support as well as Facebook groups who tried to help with the search.
A GoFundMe launched to raise money for his funeral has already reached more than £8,000 in donations.
The GoFundMe page states: “It is with great sadness that we announce the unfortunate passing of Gabriel Kariuki who went missing on Monday 17th of May and was found Friday the 25th June 2021 in Hartlepool.
“Gabriel touched our hearts in a way we will never be able to describe. A loved son, nephew, cousin and friend. It’s hard to comprehend that you’re gone, Gabriel.
“Thank you to all who helped us search for Gabriel. We are hoping to put together befitting send-off for our beautiful boy. We would appreciate your help, your thoughts and your prayers.”