The family of Bobby Thomson, a Winnipeg man who went missing in 2012 and is now presumed dead, is thanking the Winnipeg Polcie Service for its determination and compassion during the investigation that led up to a recent arrest.

On Tuesday, police announced that Tanner James Prevost, 22, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Thomson's disappearance.

Thomson, 21, was last seen on July 21, 2012, at the Liquor Mart in Osborne Village. A close friend told police and reporters that he had gone to get beer but never returned.

Bobby’s father, Robert Thomson Sr., had issued an emotional public plea in November urging anyone who knew his son's whereabouts to come forward.

'Deepest appreciation'

In an email to CBC News sent Wednesday, members of the Thomson family said they want to convey their "deepest appreciation" to the Winnipeg Police Service's missing persons unit for its "commitment and determination during this lengthy investigation" leading to an arrest.

"Each person we came in contact with showed genuine care, kindness, and concern which helped to ease the stress of an emotional time," the family's statement reads in part.

"It was very reassuring to meet such courteous, committed, and professional personnel within this department. We have the highest regard for each of them, and are grateful for their exceptional dedication and persistence to get the job done."

Police say they believe Thomson was "put in the river" during a serious fight that broke out on the bank of the Assiniboine River between him and a man he had met at the liquor store.

The actual cause of Thomson's death is not known, and his body has not been found at this time.