River bank remains belong to ‘older man’

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Police continue to search area for more clues

HUMAN remains found on a river embankment are those of an older man, it was revealed today

The body, which is “badly decomposed”, is believed to have been on the bank of the River Almond in Livingston, West Lothian, for a number of years.

Officers from Lothian and Borders Police had been searching for missing pensioner Mary Ferns, who disappeared almost three-years-ago.

But in a bizarre twist, they came across the skeletal remains on Monday afternoon – which have now been confirmed as belonging to a male.

Police had reported that initial forensic tests had indicated the bones had “distinctive male aspects” and today it was confirmed that clothing found with the remains suggest they could belong to an older man.

The family of Mary Ferns, who was 88-years-old when she vanished on 17 June 2008, had hoped the grim discovery would mean an end to the mystery.

A police spokeswoman said the identification process “could take some time now” as the presumption had been that the remains belonged to Mrs Ferns.

She added that there were no cases of missing persons in West Lothian that “jumped out” at the police, and that the man may have come from further a field.

Speaking from the site of the discovery yesterday (Tue) afternoon, Detective Inspector Phil Gachagan said the area where the body was found was “suspicious” because it was “so inaccessible”.

But today (Wed) a spokeswoman said: “There is no obvious cause of death, and no apparent criminality.”

Police have launched an investigation with the National Missing Person Bureau, as well as carrying out local inquiries.

The police spokeswoman added: “Inquiries are underway to establish who this person is, and how they died.

“Forensic tests can be done to help identify the man, but at this stage we are appealing for anyone with any information regarding these remains to contact police.”

Anyone with any information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or the charity Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity, on 0800 555 111.

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