Teams tracing the body of a man believed to have been shot and buried 30 years ago by the IRA appeared to have found him only days after giving up the search.
Relatives of 24-year-old Gerry Evans now face an agonising wait for tests to confirm the identity of human remains found in bogland in Co Louth close to the Irish border.
The missing man, last seen in 1979 hitch-hiking outside Castleblaney in Co Monaghan, is one of 16 people known as the Disappeared who were killed and secretly buried by republican paramilitaries during the Troubles. So far the remains of seven victims have been recovered.
Just over two weeks ago the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR) said its 16-month dig in the Carrickrobin area in search of Gerry Evans' remains had ended without success.
But after Friday's shock announcement, the missing man's brother Noel Evans said his family hoped their long wait would soon be at an end.
"We have just heard the news this morning. Our hope is that this will be Gerry and it will bring an end to 31 years of searching," he said.
"We are waiting on further information and are unable to make further comment at this time. We wait in hope."
The family lived in Crossmaglen, south Armagh, just north of the border in Northern Ireland, close to another Disappeared victim, Charlie Armstrong.
The remains of Mr Armstrong, who went missing in 1981, were recently buried after being discovered in bogland in Co Monaghan last July.
After Mr Armstrong's funeral, the Evans family spoke of their deep regret that their relative could not be located.