Birmingham & Black Country

Father of missing mother Natalie Putt 'wants closure'

Natalie Putt Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Natalie Putt left her home in Lower Gornal, West Midlands, to go to a shop in September 2003

The father of a teenage mother who went missing 14 years ago has says he wants "closure" as police search a cemetery for his daughter.

Natalie Putt, then 17, left her home in Lower Gornal, Dudley, to go to a shop in September 2003, leaving behind her baby son, then aged 11 weeks.

Following a tip-off, police dug up several graves earlier this week.

David Putt said he was still hoping for answers, but if his daughter's remains were found he could "put them to rest".

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Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Police said the operation at Ruiton Cemetery was expected to take several days
Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Ms Putt's son was aged 11 weeks when she disappeared

Speaking to BBC Radio WM, Mr Putt, 60, said the latest development was a "total shock".

"It's something that I was expecting but not wanting to expect," he said.

"It's over 14-and-a-half years now and something's got to come to light somewhere."

Mr Putt said his "life's been ruined" since his daughter's disappearance and said he now wants "closure".

"If it's the worst scenario, I can put her to rest properly," he said.

'Murder inquiry'

"I just want some answers [about] what's happened.

"I don't know whether it will get any better if I do find closure," he added, "that's something that will have to come in the near future."

Image caption David Putt speaking at a press conference shortly after Natalie's disappearance

Officers from West Midlands Police were on site at Ruiton Cemetery in Upper Gornal near Dudley.

Acting on new information, the force said it believed it was "looking at a murder inquiry".

It said it received a call from a man with "specific information that has the potential to lead to the person responsible for Natalie's death".

An image of Ms Putt was broadcast on the ITV show Britain's Got Talent on Friday during a performance by a choir made up of relatives of missing people.

Police said while the information prompting the digs pre-dated the broadcast, the programme's timing was "fortuitous", with information about Ms Putt coming in as a result.

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