POLICE say they are satisfied that skeletal remains found in woods near Longtown are those of a woman originally from Hawick, who has been missing for more than six months.
Although the body has not yet been formerly identified and officers are trying to establish a cause of death, it is believed that it is 56-year old Elizabeth Brown.
Specially trained officers have conducted searches of the scene and launched anthropological and forensic examinations of the remains, but although the results of a post-mortem are not expected until next week, police have revealed that items found at the scence suggest the body is that of Mrs Brown.
The last sighting of the mother of three and care home worker, known as Betty, was getting off a number three Lothian Bus in the city’s Nicolson Street at the end of May.
She withdrew money from a cash machine but later failed to turn up for work and has not been seen since.
The skeleton was found by a dog walker near a disused quarry in the Gaitle Bridge area of the Longtown to Gretna Road – just five miles from Gretna, where Mrs Brown’s daughter Sarah, also originally from Hawick, now lives with her husband Nigel and three children.
Barry Thompson, who made the discovery, said: “At first I thought it was a swan’s wing and then maybe sheep, but as I got closer I realised it was a skeleton. It was lying on the surface in a disused gravel quarry – it wasn’t buried but I didn’t hang about once I knew what it was.”
Experts have put a rough estimate on when she died, between three to six months ago – and said that she probably died at that location. Officers are also trying to piece together how the missing Edinburgh woman could have ended up 93 miles away in a disused quarry.
At the time of her disappearance, Mrs Brown is said to have been depressed, and left a note saying: “I am really sorry I have to do this”.
Her family, including 24-year-old Sarah Smith, have been informed of the discovery and are said to have visited the site to lay flowers.