Highlands & Islands

Renee and Andrew MacRae: Draining of flooded quarry begins

Renee and Andrew MacRae Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Renee and Andrew MacRae disappeared in November 1976

Work to drain a flooded quarry as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a woman and her young son more than 40 years ago has begun.

Renee MacRae, 36, from Inverness, and her three-year-old son Andrew disappeared on 12 November 1976.

Police searched the flooded Leanach quarry at Culloden Moor on the eastern side of Inverness last year.

But water is now being pumped out of the quarry so that its sediment can be removed for forensic testing.

An estimated 13 million litres of water will taken out of the quarry. It is being pumped to a nearby field.

It could be weeks before police report any further developments in the investigation of the quarry.

Last year Police Scotland revealed it had a team of detectives working to "identify new lines of inquiry and develop any existing lines of inquiry" in the case.

Image caption Leanach quarry is on the eastern side of Inverness

On the evening of her disappearance, Mrs MacRae, who was estranged from her husband Gordon, had set off for Perth with the youngest of her two sons, Andrew, to meet her lover Bill McDowell, Mr MacRae's married accountant.

He told police they never met.

Mrs MacRae's burned-out BMW car was discovered on the night she disappeared in a lay-by on the A9 south of Inverness.

Image caption The quarry was searched in the months following the disappearances of the mother and son
Image caption It could be weeks before police report any further developments at the quarry
Image caption Water from the quarry is being pumped into a field

There has been speculation that Mrs MacRae and her son were murdered and their bodies buried at either a quarry or at construction works for the A9.

The quarry was searched by divers at the time but the operation was curtailed because it was deemed too dangerous.

In 2016 a report naming a suspect who may have killed the pair was sent by the police to prosecutors but they decided there was insufficient evidence to take action.

Since then the investigation into the disappearance has continued, with fresh appeals and pictures released to the public.

Image copyright Supplied
Image caption Renee MacRae and her son disappeared more than 40 years ago

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