Body found in search for missing Scots botanist Jamie Taggart
A BODY has been recovered in the search for Jamie Taggart, the Scottish botanist missing in Vietnam since 2013.
Mr Taggart, from Argyll and Bute, hadn’t been seen since November 2013, when he failed to return from a plant-hunting trip in the northern mountainous region of the country.
His older sister Janet Skidmore posted on Facebook: “My brother has been found. RIP Jamie, I will miss you till I see you again, your big sister, love always.”
Inquiries by his family revealed that Mr Taggart had not been seen since November 2 2013, and his passport and rucksack were found at a guesthouse in the town of Sa Pa.
Local police along with the British embassy in the capital Hanoi were told of Mr Taggart’s disappearance, but extensive searches of the area carried out turned up nothing.
Mr Taggart, aged 41 when he disappeared, was last seen getting off a motorcycle taxi in Hoang Lien national park, near to Sa Pa and the border with China.
The official search for Mr Taggart was called off in March 2014, but his family and friends raised thousands of pounds to fund additional searches and local investigations.
Alex Salmond, then First Minister, and co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie repeatedly pressed for diplomatic intervention.
Actor Hugh Grant, who has family ties to the area, sent a personal note of support to Mr Taggart’s family as the search went on.
His father, Dr Jim Taggart, said in October 2014: “Someone, somewhere must know something.”
Mr Taggart’s father said the family were only alerted to Mr Taggart’s disappearance when he failed to return home to Scotland on November 29, 2013.
Mr Taggart’s mother, Jill Mary, travelled to Vietnam in March of this year, but said ‘no absolute answers’ had been established.
She had been hoping to find some trace of Mr Taggart such as his leather boots or day sack, but searches supported by local police and tribespeople were unsuccessful.
His mother said at the time: “The search is over. We have no good result. We are very disheartened.”
It is thought that Mr Taggart may have left an oficial trail in order to search out rare orchids or rhododendrons.
A fresh appeal for information was launched in October 2014, a year after his disappearance.
His father said: “It seems to me over the space of a year that it is probable someone has stumbled across something, but they might not want to get involved with the local police.
“It is possible that someone might have seen him who should not have been there.”
“He was on his own but had been in that part of Vietnam two years previously and knew his way around.
“Either something happened on his first day on the hills or there is some explanation we can only guess at.”
Mr Taggart ran the renowned Linn Botanic Gardens at Cove, on the Rosneath Peninsula, having taken over from his father, also a botanist, in 1997.