Missing girl's remains not in grave

The remains of Moira Anderson have not been found during a search of a grave plot at Old Monkland Cemetery in Coatbridge

Sandra Brown voiced disappointment that the remains of Moira Anderson were not found, but said she was hopeful of future developments

First published in National News © by

Relatives of a schoolgirl who vanished more than 50 years ago have had their hopes dashed after a search of a grave failed to find her remains.

The fate of Moira Anderson continues to be a mystery after police concluded she was not buried in a plot at Old Monkland Cemetery in Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire, where she disappeared in 1957 at the age of 11.

It is widely believed that Moira was abducted and murdered, but her body has never been found.

Moira's sisters said they were "hugely disappointed" by the blank drawn by detectives, but officers leading the investigation vowed to carry on the hunt.

Chief Inspector Kenny McLeod, of Strathclyde Police, said: "This is not the closure that the sisters would have wished for but I would like to reiterate that this case is not closed.

"Despite this outcome, the case will remain open. Any further lines of inquiry will be fully investigated."

Moira disappeared while running an errand for her grandmother to a local shop on February 23 1957.

She was last seen on a bus driven by convicted paedophile Alexander Gartshore, according to his daughter Sandra Brown, who believes her late father abducted and killed Moira. Police had been investigating the possibility that Gartshore dumped the youngster's remains in the grave of an acquaintance of his named Sinclair Upton.

Ms Brown, who set up the Moira Anderson Foundation in 2000 to help victims of childhood sexual abuse, said at the graveside: "Both of Moira's sisters are hugely disappointed. It's been a long time and it's a shame that their hopes are dashed.

"It's not what I would have liked to have happened but it's certainly not the end of the story. Some people might think we've hit a brick wall here but I think we've actually punched through a brick wall. Over the last few months Moira's case has been upgraded from a missing person to a murder inquiry. It's become a cold case review and in the future there could be further developments."

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