A WOMAN’S body found in remote countryside is believed to be that of missing Edinburgh University student Yulia Solodyankina.
A major search was launched for the 22-year-old Russian physics undergraduate after her sudden disappearance from the capital last June.
Tests are to be carried out to confirm the cause of death and identity of the body, which was discovered by walkers near the village of Arrochar, in Argyll, on Thursday. Police last night said they did not believe there were any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
The student’s parents in Russia have been informed of the discovery. Sources said the height of the woman and clothing discovered at the scene suggest the body was Solodyankina. It is believed the remains were badly decomposed and found in woodland off a track road near the A83. Unconfirmed reports said that the body was not buried.
Solodyankina was thought to have been depressed after discovering she had failed exams and had not been in touch with friends or family since leaving a gig at the Wee Red Bar, in Edinburgh’s Lady Lawson Street, at around 9pm on 6 June. She was reported missing six days later.
The last confirmed sighting of Solodyankina was CCTV footage taken at Glasgow’s Buchanan Street bus station at around 4:55pm on 7 June.
Investigators became concerned for the keen dancer’s safety after she left many of her personal belongings at her flat, including her phone, laptop and passport.
Based on previous trips she had made, detectives believed she boarded a bus from Glasgow to the Highlands or Argyll and Bute. Fort William and Inverness were thought to be her most likely destinations, but searches were later widened.
At the time of their daughter’s disappearance, Solodyankina’s parents made an emotional appeal for information on her whereabouts, describing their daughter as “our life”.
Her father, who lives in Moscow, travelled to Edinburgh as police searches got under way in the city.
Her boyfriend, Antoine Dao, was among those who made public appeals for her return. He said that Solodyankina had been “very stressed” about her university exams before going missing. Posters featured a message in Russian from her father, reading: “Yulia, come back, we love you. Nothing else matters.”
Police were unable to confirm how long the body had lain undiscovered, but a post-mortem examination is expected to be carried out on the remains today.
A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland can confirm human remains were found in a rural location near to Arrochar on Thursday, 9 January. Further examination of the remains will take place.”
She added: “A formal identification is still to take place and a post-mortem to establish the exact cause of death will be undertaken in due course.”
• A body has been found in the search for a missing airport worker. Inverness Airport employee Alexander Prentice, 53, was last seen on Friday morning at his work. Police and rescue teams found a body during searches of the Dalcross area near the airport.
Meanwhile, police searching for a university student who went missing after going out to take pictures of stormy seas found a body yesterday. Harry Martin, 18, left his home at noon on 2 January and was last seen walking towards a coastal path near his home in Devon. A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed a body had been found in the sea by coastguards.