Joel's 30th birthday was 8 March this year and Joel’s parents, Jacki and Alan, have issued a special video appeal asking for help from anyone who knew Joel in the UK or Portugal.
In the video Jacki Eldridge says; "We know somebody knows something, please if you know anything, if you have heard any rumours about where Joel might be, if you have seen Joel, who was the last person to see him...please get in touch with Sussex Police and tell them what you know..."
Detectives in Britain and Portugal believe that information from friends and associates of Joel, in Sussex as well as in Portugal, could be key in helping solve the mystery.
Joel, 29, went to Portugal in January 2018, saying he was going to work on a house near Coimbra, and was living in Macieira near Serta when his family last heard from him in mid-July, and by a UK-based firm who had an enquiry from him on 26 July about potential work back in the UK.
It is very unlike Joel not to be in touch as he had always kept in close contact with his family, mainly via social media. He has now missed several family birthdays and failed to make any contact with his relatives throughout the Christmas and New Year period, none of which has ever happened before.
He is white, 5’ 10”, and of muscular build.
Joel's disappearance was reported to Sussex Police in late August and police issued a public and media appeal for information on 31 August. Detectives from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team are working closely with the national Portuguese Judicial Police and have visited Portugal to meet their counterparts.
The Portuguese Judicial Police, who are leading the investigation with Sussex Police support, are treating the case as a potential suspicious death and it is being investigated by Homicide officers.
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Friday, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said; “Our enquiries, supporting those of the Portuguese investigators, give us cause to believe that Joel has come to harm at the hands of others in while in Portugal.
“Anyone who may have heard from Joel since he went missing in July 2018, or who may have any other information about him or about anyone else who knew him, in the UK or Portugal, is asked to contact Sussex Police online or by calling 101, quoting Operation Lyra.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
In Portugal information can be given to the Polícia Judiciária in Coimbra on (+351) 239 863 000.