Scots quarry is drained in un­solved mur­der case

The Scotsman - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRIS MAR­SHALL

Po­lice are “ex­tremely con­fi­dent” of find­ing vi­tal ev­i­dence af­ter drain­ing wa­ter from a Scot­tish quarry in a bid to solve a his­toric cold case.

Leanach quarry, near In­ver­ness, has been drained as of­fi­cers search for new leads in the search for Re­nee Macrae and her three­year-old son An­drew, who dis­ap­peared al­most 43 years ago.

Ms Macrae’s BMW was found burnt out in a lay-by on the A9 in Novem­ber 1976, but the pair were never seen again.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Brian Ged­des said: “Silt and de­bris from the bot­tom of the quarry are now being re­moved by lorry to un­dergo foren­sic tests at an­other lo­ca­tion.”

A quarry has been drained of wa­ter al­low­ing po­lice to look for new leads in the search for am other and son who dis­ap­peared more than 40 years ago.

Re­nee Macr ae and three - year-old An­drew were last seen driv­ing out of In­ver­ness on 12 Novem­ber 1976.

The 36-year-old’s BMW was found burned out in a lay-by on the A9 near Dal­ma­garry, 12 miles south of the city, but the pair were not seen again.

Of­fi­cers have now be­gun search­ing Lean achquarry,whichh as been drained of wa­ter, in the lat­est de­vel­op­ment of what po­lice are treat­ing as a mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The site was pre­vi­ously deemed too dan­ger­ous to use divers but po­lice are“ex­tremely con­fi­dent that vita lev­i­dence” will be found af­ter what has been de­scribed as “fan­tas­tic progress”.

DI Brian Ged­des said: “The team in­volved at Lean ach quarry have put in an in­cred­i­ble amount of work and their tire­less efforts mean we have now started the de­tailed search­ing phase of the oper­a­tion.

“Pump­ing the wa­ter clear was a huge chal­lenge, but we have made fan­tas­tic progress in a very short time.

“Si lt and de­bris from the bot­tom of the quarry are now being re­moved by lorry to un­dergo foren­sic tests at an­other lo­ca­tion.

“The whole team re­mains ex­tremely con­fi­dent that vi­tal ev­i­dence we be­lieve was hid­den in Leanach will be re­cov­ered in the com­ing weeks.”

He added: “I want to re­as­sure the fam­ily and friends of Re­nee and An­drew that we will not be leav­ing here un­til ev­ery last inch is searched.”

In 2004, a full cold case re­view re­sulted in a month­long ex­ca­va­tion of Dal­ma­garry quarry.

Sev­eral days were spent at Lean ach quarry last Oc to­berwh en of­fi­cers re­leased an im­age of young An­drew around the time of what would be his 45th birth­day.

A pic­ture of a Sil­ver Cross push chair, iden­ti­cal to the one used by Ms Macr ae for her son, was also re­leased.

It was be­lieved to have been with them when they went miss­ing al­though it too was never re­cov­ered.

In 2006, a re­port nam­ing a sus­pect was sent to prose - cu­tors but it was later de­cided there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to take ac­tion.

In 2016, po­lice said a ground­pen­e­trat­ing radar re­port car­ried out near where Mrs MacRae’s car was found had in­di­cated “an anom­aly” in the road sur­face.

How­ever, that sec­tion of the road had not been un­der con­struc­tion at the time of the dis­ap­pear­ance.

0 Leanach quarry was pre­vi­ously deemed too dan­ger­ous to use divers but po­lice are ‘ex­tremely con­fi­dent that vi­tal ev­i­dence’ will be found

0 Re­nee Macrae and her son An­drew were last seen in 1976

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