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Leveson parents' warning to Atkins

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016

Matthew Leveson (right) with boyfriend Michael Atkins. © AAP Image/Facebook Matthew Leveson (right) with boyfriend Michael Atkins. The parents of Matthew Leveson say the decision to call off a search for his remains has not dampened their resolve - and they have issued a stark warning to the man they believe murdered their boy.

"We're now even more determined to find Matt," his father Mark Leveson said.

"So Atkins, look over your shoulder."

Detectives on Thursday ended their hunt for the 20-year-old's remains in dense bushland south of Sydney after spending more than a week scouring the area, but stressed they hadn't given up on finding him.

Crime scene tape was stripped away from the Royal National Park search site near Waterfall in the afternoon, but a floral tribute to Mr Leveson remained, along with a sign that read "forever in our hearts".

Investigators were taken to the remote roadside site late last week by Mr Leveson's former boyfriend, Michael Atkins, who was acquitted of the younger man's murder in 2009.

Mark Leveson said his family's search was still far from over.

"I've got to say what this does is only strengthen our resolve," he told reporters.

Earlier on Thursday, Faye Leveson spoke of the devastating toll the search for her son had taken on his brothers.

"It's just heart-wrenching, devastating, and the boys are ... I can't put it into words," she said.

"It's been nine years, over nine years, and we were hoping we'd get the chance to bring Matty home.

"Every day I've been coming down here with a plaque to put here that says he's been found."

The hunt for some trace of the 20-year-old ramped up significantly in its final hours.

A dozen uniformed officers arrived at the site on Thursday morning, performing a line search beyond the boundaries of the area crews had already searched and searched again.

Faye and Mark Leveson then pinpointed several new locations for police to excavate, before the heavy machinery was shut down for the last time around 2pm.

Detective Inspector Gary Jubelin said investigators were not walking away from the case.

"The search conducted by the NSW Police in this area of national park is now concluded," he told reporters.

"We're going to continue in our efforts to locate Matthew Leveson."

Det Insp Jubelin paid tribute to the young man's family, who maintained a steady vigil at the site through every day of the search.

"It's been difficult for them and it's been a privilege to work with them on this investigation," he said.

In the nine years since Mr Leveson's disappearance, Mr Atkins had given no indication he knew whether the missing man was dead or where his remains could be found.

Even though he told an inquest this month he did not kill his boyfriend, Mr Atkins led detectives to the potential burial site after striking a deal with attorney-general Gabrielle Upton.

The deal gave Mr Atkins immunity from prosecution for perjury and contempt of court on the evidence he gave at the inquest on condition Mr Leveson's body was found.

Ms Upton declined to comment on Thursday after the search was called off.

The coronial inquiry into Matthew Leveson's disappearance will resume next year.

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