Bonhill woman Mary Duncan: Police end search for teenager missing since 1976

Mary Duncan

Bonhill teenager, Mary Duncan, pictured at the age of 16, when she went missing in 1976. 

By Democrat reporter

Police investigating the disappearance of a teenager 44 years ago say new searches involving the use of diggers have ended with “no positive result”.

Mary Duncan was 17 when she disappeared from her home in Bonhill in 1976.

Despite an extensive investigation at the time, no trace of the young mother has ever been found.

The latest searches involved two sites at Alexandria’s Vale of Leven Hospital and a garden in West Argyll Street, Helensburgh.

Police searched the gardens of a house in West Argyll Street, Helensburgh.

Excavations in the hospital grounds, where he step father Norman Duncan worked in the 1970s,  started in August and in Helensburgh in September. The work was completed on 4 December.

Detective Superintendent Calum Young 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.”

Mary’s sisters continue to appeal for help to find Mary.

Detective Superintendent Young, who was involved in a series of long interviews with people believed to be connected with the case,  said inquiries into Mary’s disappearance continued.

Mary disappeared from her home in Bonhill after telling her family she was going to meet a friend on 19 March 1976.

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.

Mary’s three sisters have previously appealed for information to help find out what happened to her.

Their stepfather, Norman Duncan, was jailed for five years for historical sexual offences against girls, and had been spoken to as one of a number of lines of inquiry.





Step-father Norman Duncan, a gardener, who was jailed for five years for historical sexual offences against young girls.

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