Police dig plan in hunt for Mary Duncan who went missing 43 years ago

duncan mary missing
Mary Duncan, pictured at the age of 16, went missing in 1976.

By Democrat reporter

BBC Scotland is reporting that detectives plan to excavate land in West Dunbartonshire in the search for a teenager who vanished almost 43 years ago.

Mary Duncan, who was 17, disappeared from her home in Third Avenue, Bonhill, on 19 March 1976.  Despite an extensive investigation, no trace of the young mother was ever found.

The Democrat believes that the search will include the grounds of Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria, although the police are making no comment on that at present.

On the eve of what would have been her 60th birthday, her sisters have told the BBC police are preparing to dig.

Marion McFarlane said: “I really hope they do. The police say they are looking at lots of different avenues.

“It would be wonderful for us to get her back, especially at this time.

“We should be having a birthday party, buying balloons and celebrating Mary’s 60th birthday with her and her children and maybe grandchildren.

“That’s a whole generation that is missing from our family. Our grandkids are growing up and every time we have a birthday or anniversary we are reminded Mary’s not here and her kids and grandkids are not here.”

Mary told her family she was going to meet a friend but never returned.

She had become pregnant at 15 and gave birth to a girl, Laura, on 17 February 1975. She did not take her daughter with her when she disappeared and the baby died of natural causes on 25 October 1976.

Now, the three sisters claim senior officers have informed them that Police Scotland is looking to dig ground for the first time in a bid to solve the mystery.

They hope it will bring the answers they need.

Debbie Rennick said: “Cases go cold and there’s not much you can do about it. But I feel that since the middle of last year, things were moving forward and I have more confidence that it is being investigated thoroughly.

“Over the years we’ve come to realise she is no longer alive. But this investigation gaining momentum has given us hope that we might get some kind of resolution.”

Mandy Duncan has just one wish. To bring her sister home.

She said: “I really hope this is the end of it now and we are going to find Mary after this. The police have given me hope. I hope we get what we want.  We just want to finish it and bring her home so our family is complete again.”

Mary’s sisters returned to the street where she was last seen as the family prepared to mark her 60th birthday on Saturday.

They tied ribbons to remember their sister.

Marion said that although they had all moved away from the area, they still get support from the people who live there.

She hopes that someone will come forward with the piece of information which completes the puzzle of what happened.

Mary was known to frequent the area around the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria and her sisters want anyone who knew her in 1976 or who worked there to come forward.

Marion said: “We’ve had 42 years now and we want to be able to grieve properly instead of wondering where she is and what has happened to her. We just want to know the whole story.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “This is an ongoing inquiry and we are in regular contact with the family.”

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