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Police, family positive in Leveson search

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016 By Andi Yu

Detectives believe they are close to finding Matthew Leveson's body.

"We think we're on the right track, otherwise we wouldn't be going to this extent," Detective Inspector Garry Jubelin said as day three of the search came to a close.

Excavators cleared areas of thick scrub in the Royal National Park south of Sydney on Saturday, at times kneeling down to dig more carefully.

The Leveson family and friends, who have not seen Matthew since 2007, watched on anxiously.

Parents Mark and Faye are grateful to police.

"It's been going for nine long years, so we're not rushed and the police said they're here as long as it takes and so are we," Mark Leveson told reporters.

"That's why it's so slow. They're checking every square centimetre."

At one point, detectives donned gloves, removed something from the earth and put it in a brown paper bag but would not tell reporters what it was.

"We're given so much false hope all the time, we don't get too excited," Mr Leveson said.

A shoe was found during the search on Friday but the Levesons said they had not been told if it was of any significance.

Their son was last seen leaving a Darlinghurst nightclub with his former boyfriend, Michael Atkins, in 2007.

Mr Atkins was acquitted of the 20-year-old's murder after a trial in 2009.

But on Thursday he led police to an area in the park where it is believed Matthew is buried.

The search was launched after Mr Atkins struck a deal authorised by NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton.

He has been given immunity from prosecution for perjury and contempt of court during his evidence at an inquest into the disappearance.

There is CCTV footage of Mr Atkins buying a garden mattock and gaffer tape from a hardware shop about 12pm the same day his partner was last spotted.

Matthew's mother, Faye, told reporters she had not slept much since the bush search began.

"Things go through your head and you start to have scenarios in your head, what he could have done to him," she said.

A man who had been at the same nightclub the night Leveson disappeared, Antonio Mesiti, came to the search site to lay flowers and give the Levesons a letter.

It read: "Maybe having been at ARQ that night made me feel connected to you and since then I have hoped and prayed you would one day be found and be given the proper send off that you deserve.

"If there's any positive light to this ordeal it is the strength, dignity and courage that your parents and family have shown."

At the end of Saturday's search, a tired Faye Leveson said the family will be at the excavation site until Matthew is found.

"We're here till the end, until we bring him home and we're not giving up," she said.

The search resumes on Sunday.

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