Police digs fail to find any sign of Scottish teenager who vanished more than 40 years ago

Detectives have failed to find any trace a young mother more than 40 years ago after searching two sites.

Mary Duncan, 17, who went missing more than 40 years ago
Mary Duncan, 17, who went missing more than 40 years ago

Mary Duncan was 17 when she disappeared from her home in Alexandria, Dunbartonshire, in 1976, leaving her 13-month-old daughter behind.

The teenager, who was believed to be expecting again, vanished after telling her family she was going to meet a friend.

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No trace of Mary, a machinist, has ever been found despite extensive inquiries. Her daughter Laura died of pneumonia less than a year after Mary vanished.

Detectives previously questioned Mary's stepdad Norman Duncan, 74, about her after he was jailed for sex crimes in 2016. His Bonhill home was also searched for clues.

It is suspected Mary was abused by an older man known to the family and had fallen pregnant to him. The suspect – who has never been named – had access to construction sites in the area, including the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria, through his work.

In August, police began searches of sites at the Vale of Leven and they also carried out a forensic examination of a detached home in a wealthy area of Helensburgh.

Detective Superintendent Calum Young, of West Dunbartonshire CID, said: "I can confirm that planned ground searches have now concluded, no further trace or information about Mary's whereabouts has been found and the Duncan family have been fully updated."I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff and management at the Vale of Leven Hospital for their support during search activity within the hospital, and also thank the public and media for helping to ensure that any disruption was kept to a minimum.”

He added: "Our inquiries into Mary's disappearance remain ongoing, I would ask anyone who may have any information to contact Police Scotland on 101."

Paedophile Duncan was sentenced to five years for sexually abusing Mary's sisters, Debbie Renwick and Mandy Duncan, between 1968 and 1976. The assaults started when they were ten and five.

When details of the planned searches were announced in January, Mandy said: "The police have given me hope. We just want to finish it and bring her home.''

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