Police search hospital grounds for teenage mum who disappeared 44 years ago
Police are searching the grounds of a Scottish hospital after a decades-old investigation was relaunched in the search for a missing teen.
Detectives investigating the disappearance of the young mum more than 40-years ago are to begin searching various sites at the NHS hospital.
Mary Duncan was just 17 when she disappeared from her home in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, in 1976 in a case which shocked the local community.
The teen, who had a 13-month-old daughter, vanished after telling her family she was going to meet a friend at a housing estate not far from the hospital grounds.
No trace of Mary has ever been found despite extensive inquiries. Her daughter later died of natural causes the same year.
Police are now beginning to search a number of sites at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria, with the work beginning yesterday.
Detective Superintendent Calum Young from West Dunbartonshire CID said as Ms Duncan not been heard of for more than 40 years police must consider she may have come to harm.
He said: "Mary left her home at 17 years of age, with no money and has never claimed benefits, paid tax or national insurance.
"She also left behind her baby girl Laura, who family say she absolutely adored.
"Specialist officers will be searching a number of locations at the Vale of Leven Hospital in connection with the investigation."
The detective said it is still a functioning hospital and disruption must be kept to an absolute minimum.
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He added: "It is also vital the search team are left to get on with this important work and any updates will be provided in due course."
Police said searches at two sites at the hospital will continue for a number of weeks.
Former police officers that were active between 1976 and 1979 are also asked to come forward with information.
Marie Farrell, director of Clyde sector at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: "We have been working with Police Scotland on the planned excavation of a number of sites in the grounds of the Vale of Leven hospital.
"We would like to reassure patients that there will be no disruption to patient care as a consequence of these enquiries."
The search came as Mary’s sisters Debbie, Marion and Mandy made an appeal to the media for anyone with any information to come forward in July 2018.
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Detective Superintendent Calum Young said he believes "the answer to what happened to Mary lies within the local community", urging those with information to come forward.
In April 2019 Police Scotland’s Major Investigations Team launched a fresh probe after new information emerged.
Police then searched the former Ladyton home of Mary's stepfather, jailed sex offender Norman Duncan, now 73.
Anyone with any information can contact Police Scotland on 101.
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