Police are refusing to rule out murder in case of dead woman

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DETECTIVES investigating the death of a woman originally from Hawick whose body was found in woods eight months after she died, say they have received a “good response” from officers travelling on the X95 bus.

Cumbria Constabulary and Lothian and Borders Police mounted a combined operation last Friday in a bid to solve the mystery of what happened to the 55-year old, whose remains were discovered in the Longtown area in January, but who had last been seen in the capital in May last year.

And the latest appeal for information comes as officers reveal they are considering “every possibility from natural causes to murder”.

Detective Chief Inspector Jeff Ashton, from Cumbria Constabulary, who is leading the enquiry, said: “We believe Betty may have intended to visit her family and took the bus down from Edinburgh and got off at Longtown. Her body has not just materialsed in these woods, and we want to find anyone who remembers seeing her on the bus, or in Longtown. They may hold vital information which is key to this enquiry.”

In a bid to find potential witnesses, a team of 25 officers were deployed to travel on the X95 buses between Edinburgh and Carlisle on Friday – a route which includes Hawick – with an officer on each of the 16 journeys to and from Carlisle during the day, speaking to anyone who got on and handing out leaflets and photographs. These included images of the two black Aldi bags Betty had been carrying on the day she went missing, which were recovered in the vicinity of her body. The passengers were also asked to fill in a questionnaire.

Posters of Mrs Brown are also being put up around Longtown, around five miles from Gretna where Mrs Brown’s daughter, also formerly of Hawick, now lives.

DCI Ashton said: “We have had a good response on the buses. We also had one phone call about a potential sighting. It is vital that anybody who may have seen her or has information contacts us.”

Mrs Brown, a mother of three who lived in Gorgie, was last seen getting off a No. 3 bus in Nicholson Street. Shortly before noon, cash was withdrawn from her account at the RBS ATM on Nicolson Street, which police believe was carried out by Mrs Brown.

Mr Ashton stressed that Betty often travelled by bus to visit her daughter in Gretna, adding: “It is entirely possible that she did get the X95 bus on or around Friday, May 28 last year, and for some reason never got to her intended destination.”

He concluded: “We’re still carrying out tests to try and determine the cause of death. Because of the condition of the body, that has taken time. All options remain open at this point because we don’t have a cause of death and we don’t know how Betty got from Edinburgh to those woods. That means keeping open every possibility from natural causes to murder.”