Highlands & Islands

Lewis family's 30-year search for Aberdeen student

Alison MacDonald
Image caption Alison MacDonald was raised on the island of Lewis

The family of a Scotswoman who vanished in Kashmir 30 years ago believe she is still alive.

Alison MacDonald's family have spent thousands of pounds on trying to unearth clues to her disappearance.

Her father Kenny, 76, and wife Reta, 73, have made 17 trips to the region, which is embroiled in a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan.

Ms MacDonald, who was raised on Lewis, was a student at the University of Aberdeen when she disappeared.

Her father, a retired Free Church of Scotland minister, told BBC Alba he still believed he would see his daughter before his failing eyesight left him blind.

Mr MacDonald, who now lives in Golspie, believes she was kidnapped.

He said: "If I took a truth drug I would still say I firmly believe that she's alive and that the end of the story has not come yet.

"It will be a surprise to everybody I know, but I do believe absolutely that she will be found and that I will see her in this life."

Ms MacDonald was 19 when she went to Kashmir with a friend.

Image caption Kenny MacDonald believes his daughter is still alive

She disappeared while her companion was on a two-day trip to the Kolahoi glacier.

Kashmiri police closed the case after failing to find any clues as to what happened to her.

Her disappearance was a major news story at the time and made headlines again in 2007 when the inquiry was reopened after new evidence emerged, thought to be linked to the case.

A tape of a prominent Kashmiri rebel appeared to feature him speaking English with a Scottish accent, prompting unproven suggestions that he may have been taught by Ms MacDonald.

Kashmir has been disputed by India and Pakistan since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

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