Decomposed body is that of missing Hawick woman – police

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POLICE believe that a decomposed body found near Longtown in Cumbria is that of missing Hawick woman Elizabeth Brown, writes Bob Burgess.

Her family – including married daughter Sarah Smith in Gretna – have been told of the discovery and flowers have laid at the woodland spot where the body was found.

Police in Carlisle told TheSouthern that while a positive identification had not been made, they are working on the belief that the body is that of Mrs Brown – also known as Hunt.

But the cause of death remains a mystery. Police said a post-mortem examination had been inconclusive.

The 55-year-old lived in the Gorgie area of Edinburgh where she was known as Betty.

The last time she spoke with relatives was on the morning of May 22 last year when she left an address in Edinburgh’s Firhill Park, saying she was taking a bus back to her home in Gorgie.

She was reported missing by her worried family and Lothian and Borders Police said they were concerned for her safety and issued a plea for sightings. They also released pictures from CCTV footage that showed Mrs Brown getting off a no. 3 bus in Nicholson Street in the city around noon on May 28.

The search was widened to the Borders when officers said she may have returned to her home town of Hawick from Nicholson Street. That’s the last trace police had of the missing woman and she made no contact with family or friends.

Cumbria police launched their investigation when what were described as skeletal remains were found by a dog walker on Tuesday of last week near a former quarry at Gaitle Bridge close to the A6071 Longtown-Gretna road.

Forensic experts she said had been dead for three to six months and that death probably happened at the spot where the body was found.