A MAN who vanished from his home after finding out a relative had cancer could now be declared dead after going missing 13 years ago.
Harry Dalgarno, 72, disappeared from his house in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, on a cold March evening. He had said he was going out for a walk but never returned.
Police launched a major search involving dozens of officers and interviewed more than 320 people during their investigations but he has never been found.
But despite a number of unconfirmed sightings, the pensioner – described as “a quiet and private man” – was never found. A nationwide appeal using the Missing Persons Helpline also drew a blank.
His family has now launched an action at Aberdeen Sheriff Court to have the retired farm worker officially declared dead. The action has been raised by Alexina Dalgarno.
At the time he vanished, his son, Stewart, said his father had left his home to “clear his head” after becoming upset after he received news that a family member had cancer.
Search teams trawled the River Ythan which flows through the town and also searched surrounding fields in the hope they could find him.
On the first anniversary of his disappearance, his family made an emotional appeal for him to return home at a press conference with his wife Alice saying: “At the time of the search we were hoping that he had just wandered off and lost his way.
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“We were disappointed when there was no news, but he is always in our thoughts. He was a very good husband, father and grandad. The family miss him very much.”
In 2004 a bone was discovered from the Ythan which officers suspected could have been from Mr Dalgarno. However, a subsequent forensic examination confirmed it was an animal bone. The pensioner was last seen at his home at 8:20pm on Monday 17 March, 2003, when temperatures plummeted.
Mr Dalgarno was described as reasonably fit for his age and often walked into the town along a disused railway line and the banks of the Ythan.
His daughter Shona said the family struggled to explain to his grandchildren what had happened to him and said his disappearance had left a “huge void” in their lives.
She has previously said: “His grandchildren ask, ‘Where is grandad? When is grandad coming back?’ The questions are never easily answered.”
Anyone who wishes to defend the court action has until 31 March to apply.