Volunteers critical of police search for tourist

Susan McLean had been on a two-week family holiday. Picture: Contributed
Susan McLean had been on a two-week family holiday. Picture: Contributed
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FRIENDS of an American tourist who disappeared on a holiday to Scotland have criticised the police search after her body was discovered by volunteers.

Susan McLean, 61, who was on a two-week tour of Scotland with her family, was reported missing from her holiday lodge in Aberfeldy, Perth and Kinross, on May 17.

Extensive searches were carried out in the surrounding area following her disappearance.

But despite police efforts, the American tourist’s remains were found in woods on Saturday by volunteers.

Brooke Baker, 49, was one of eight volunteers recruited by Mrs McLean’s friend Lorna Vanderzanden to search for the missing woman.

Ms Baker said: “People say it was like finding a needle in a haystack — but once Lorna had pieced Susan’s story together it was only a matter of time until we got her. It was quite obvious where she must have gone. I’m shocked the police didn’t think the same way.”

Mrs McLean, from Pennsylvania, is reported to have gone off after a row with her husband, Donald. Ms Vanderzanden pinpointed likely areas for the search then assembled some helpers plus two dogs from voluntary group K9 Search and Recovery Scotland.

They first looked on May 8 but were unsuccessful. However, a second search on Saturday located Mrs McLean’s body around 100 yards off Loch Hoil Trail.

Police Scotland released a statement following the discovery of the body after it had been formally identified. The force said there were no suspicious circumstances. A report has gone to the procurator fiscal.

The American was last seen on CCTV at 7.45pm outside the grounds of Moness Resort on May 17.

A large-scale air and ground search was launched by police after she was reported missing.

Tory MSP Alex Johnstone said: “Susan’s friends and family would be forgiven for thinking the police search for her was half-hearted. The volunteers were right to take matters into their own hands.

“On the back of the M9 scandal, it’s clear Police Scotland has a lot of work to do.”