Murder probe after burned girl's body found in Wishaw

Image caption,
Zoe's body was found in a field near Cambusnethan on Sunday

A murder investigation is under way after a teenager's body was discovered in a field in North Lanarkshire.

Police were called to an area just off Branchalfield Drive, Wishaw, at about 1620 BST on Sunday.

The body, which was found by a member of the public, was later identified as Zoe Nelson, 17, from Newmains.

Zoe's family said they were "absolutely heartbroken" by her death and urged anyone with information to contact the police.

Officers said they were determined to catch the person responsible for "this horrific attack".

Det Supt Derek Robertson, from Strathclyde Police's major investigation team, said Ms Nelson left home on Saturday at about 1700 BST.

"However, we do not know where she has been between then and when her body was found," he said.

The body of the Motherwell College student was found in a spot known locally as "the Monkey Hill", which links the areas of Cambusnethan, Newmains and Coltness and is used as a short cut, a cycle track and for walking dogs.

In a statement issued through the police, Zoe's family said: "We are absolutely heartbroken at the death of Zoe and devastated by the way in which she died.

"Zoe was a popular girl and a typical 17-year-old who had plenty of friends and was well known in the area.

"She would have been celebrating her 18th birthday in a couple of months and we miss her terribly."

Suspicious vehicles

Det Supt Robertson said the period over the weekend was "very important" to the investigation team.

"We are very interested if anyone who saw any suspicious vehicles in this area, or any suspicious people. Please report it.

"If dog walkers have seen anything, it might not have seemed important then but it is very important that they now come forward and assist with our investigation."

Zoe was described as 5ft 6in tall, of heavy build, with collar-length brown hair. She was last seen wearing grey tracksuit bottoms, a white long sleeved t-shirt and black Nike trainers.

She was known to frequent the Newmains, Cambusnethan and Coltness areas.

Officers have carried out door-to-door inquiries and one neighbour, who did not want to be named, told the BBC Scotland news website: "I've lived in this area for 14 years. It's very quiet, so, everyone is really shocked."

Hugh Logan, principal of Motherwell College, said: "Everyone at Motherwell College is shocked to hear this dreadful news.

"Zoe was a very popular student. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."

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