Glasgow & West Scotland

Police search garden in hunt for missing woman Ellen Ruffle

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Media captionEllen Ruffle disappeared from her home in Motherwell in 1969

Police are searching a garden in Lanarkshire in the hunt for a teacher who went missing nearly 43 years ago.

Ellen Elizabeth Ruffle lived in Annan Glade in Motherwell with her husband and two children before disappearing in November 1969.

Officers are focusing their search on the back garden of the property and a garage.

It is understood that investigators are acting on information which has given them reason to search the garden.

The search is expected to take several days.

Image caption Police have been searching the garden of Ellen Ruffle's former home in Motherwell

A specially trained police team have been using ground penetrating radar equipment provided by the Home Office to scan the garden.

The equipment has been used in similar search operations, including during the investigation into serial killer Peter Tobin.

Ellen, known to friends as Evelyn, was born in Motherwell in 1935 and on leaving school attended Craiglockhart Training College in Edinburgh.

After completing her training she then took a number of teaching posts in Singapore, Bournemouth and various schools in North Lanarkshire, including Cathedral Primary, where she was working when she went missing, aged 34.

She last seen at her home address in Motherwell on 14 November 1969. Her two young children were aged 4 and 18 months.

Shortly after her disappearance her husband took the family to live in South Africa.

It is understood her husband now lives in the Borders and her son lives somewhere in the UK, but not in Scotland. Her daughter remains in South Africa.

Image caption Officers used ground penetrating radar equipment to scan the garden

Police said they were keeping them up to date with the latest developments.

Supt Andy McKay from Strathclyde Police said: "It is now over 40 years since she went missing and I urge anyone with information, no matter how small, to come forward and hopefully we can provide some resolution to her family.

"I have no doubt that someone has information which can help us to find out what happened to Ellen. It was completely out of character for her to leave her two small children. It may be four decades since Ellen was last seen, however my officers are no less determined to find out what happened to her."

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