The family of missing rugby player Levi Davis have disputed reports the case has turned into a criminal investigation and asked the press to “refrain from printing conspiracy theories” about his disappearance.
The 24-year-old former Bath player and Celebrity X Factor contestant was last seen at The Old Irish Pub in Barcelona on October 29.
Spanish police searching for Mr Davis described the case as an “open investigation” on Tuesday but said they could not give any more information.
Catalan police also reportedly said there are “disturbing” issues with “no logical explanation”, with a specialist crime unit said to be taking over the probe.
A statement shared with the PA news agency on behalf of Mr Davis’s family on Friday said gang involvement is “not being considered or investigated at this time”.
They said reports of “hearsay” have been causing “a huge amount of distress” to his family and friends and are “potentially damaging the reputation of a young man who has achieved so much in his young life”.
“Gang involvement is not being considered or investigated at this time as their focus is on facts and concrete evidence including where he was last seen, telephone calls he made, apps he used and people he may have arranged to meet.
“They have now identified who he was last in contact with.
“This is still a missing persons case, it is not and never has been a criminal case and there is not and never has been an imminent arrest.
“The reports of a man seen in the water in the Port on the morning of (October) 30 is now being fully investigated with the help of the other relevant police forces.
“This is also where his passport was found.”
The statement added: “We would also ask that the press, many of whom have been extremely supportive and respectful, refrain from printing conspiracy theories and hearsay which is causing a huge amount of emotional distress to family and friends, not to mention potentially damaging the reputation of a young man who achieved so much in his young life.
“We would like to thank the West Midlands Police, the Mosso d’Esquadra and the British consulate in Barcelona for their continued hard work.
“As Levi’s 25th birthday approaches next week, we continue to hope and pray that he is found safe and well.”
He was also on E4’s Celebs Go Dating in 2020.
He had signed a record deal and gone to stay with a friend, Richard Squire, in Ibiza to work on some songs.
Mr Squire said he dropped Mr Davis off in Ibiza Town on October 28 and has not seen him since.
He said Mr Davis told him he was heading to Barcelona.
Mr Squire told the BBC: “I was obviously worried for him. I said, ‘Gone where?’ He said: ‘Barcelona, going to see some mates’.
“So then I sent him a voice note saying, ‘You’re worrying me. Please tell me where you are’.”
Mr Davis told Mr Squire he would call when he arrived in Barcelona but he never did.
As concern grew, Bath Rugby shared a missing persons appeal in November in the hope someone may be able to help find Mr Davis.