Renee and Andrew MacRae: Man, 77, charged with murders

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Renee and Andrew MacRaeImage source, Police Scotland
Image caption,
Renee and Andrew MacRae disappeared in November 1976

A 77-year-old man has been charged with the murders of a mother and her young son more than 40 years ago.

Renee MacRae, 36, from Inverness, and Andrew, three, vanished on 12 November 1976.

William MacDowell, of Penrith, appeared in private at Inverness Sheriff Court. He also faces two charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He made no plea, was committed for further examination and granted bail by Sheriff Margaret Neilson.

The search for Mrs Macrae and her son is one of the UK's longest-running missing persons investigations.

She was last seen dropping her older son Gordon at her husband's house.

The following day her BMW car was discovered burned out in a lay-by on the A9, 12 miles south of Inverness.

One of the most intensive searches ever mounted in Scotland failed to find a trace of them and the bodies of the mother and son have not been found.

Police Scotland said a "detailed forensic search" of Leanach Quarry, near Inverness, started earlier this year in connection with the investigation was continuing.