M54 body: Detectives confirm Surjit Takhar was murdered as family make emotional appeal
The family of an Oldbury man whose remains were found by the M54 today made an emotional appeal for information – as detectives confirmed he was murdered.
Surjit Takhar was 37 when he was reported missing from his home on October 8, 2008.
His remains were not found until maintenance workers came across them at the bottom of an embankment in Shropshire on August 20, 2015.
It led to a detailed forensic investigation next to the slip road of junction four of the M54 for Shifnal.
West Midlands Police today revealed a murder investigation is now under way and, together with Mr Takhar's family, detectives have launched an appeal for help to trace his killer.
Mr Takhar's ex-wife Lavina Sohl and their twin 22-year-old daughters, Sohnia and Sohnay, returned to the site where his remains were found to make a heartfelt plea for anyone with information to come forward.
Ms Sohl, of Willenhall, had been married to Mr Takhar for 14 years but the pair split up two years before he went missing. The 43-year-old said she saw him five days before he was reported missing, when he visited her.
She said: "He knew everyone, everyone knew him.
"He just came across as wanting to do anything for anyone. Once you met him, you would never forget him.
"He's not the type of person who would go missing. There has to be someone who knows something.
"We are still waiting for answers. Back then, I was told he had moved to a different country.
"But I had my suspicions that something had happened to him. Then I found out he's dead. It doesn't feel right at all. How can he just be dead?
"For years and years I've battled with it, day and night, even in my sleep."
Ms Sohl said the family were eager to lay Mr Takhar, from Oldbury in the West Midlands, to rest.
She said: "We just want to have a funeral and say goodbye to him properly.
"It's been really hard, it still is. Someone knows something. He didn't just go missing. He's been put there. Please someone, for my children's sake, come forward."
Mr Takhar, who also has a 21-year-old son called Harry, worked as a delivery driver in the year before he went missing and was previously a laminator for Gurso Lining in Great Wyrley.
He was known as Skin amongst family and friends.
His brother-in-law Jasvir Sohl said he had been "a genuine, one in a million individual who loved with all his heart and was loved by us all".
He said: "We are heartbroken we will never see him again and know he would feel the same that he will not be able to see and embrace loving moments in this life with his friends and family."
In January of this year, following a full forensic examination, a DNA profile, along with dental records, police confirmed the remains found by the M54 were those of Mr Takhar.
However, the cause of his death has still not been explained.
Detective Inspector Jim Munro, from force CID at West Midlands Police, said: "Initially it was a missing persons inquiry. Following on from that, because of the site where he has been recovered, it's clearly a place he's been dumped.
"Whilst we are still working towards trying to identify the cause of death, it is now being treated as a murder inquiry.
"We are continuing to pursue lines of inquiry. We are interested in information from people who knew Surjit.
"We know he was a regular attendee at the main temple on Soho Road in Handsworth, Birmingham.
"He was a frequent drinker in some of the pubs in that area as well."
He said detectives were also keen to speak to someone who called police in January this year saying they had information about Mr Takhar, but the call was cut off before they gave their name.
DI Munro added: "I would urge that person to contact us again. The information they have could be vital in helping us to get the answers that Mr Takhar's family deserve.
Anyone with information should call detectives on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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