Sisters in search for answers over sibling last seen 40 years ago

Mary Duncan was 17 when she was last seen leaving her home in Bonhill, West Dunbartonshire. Picture: Police Scotland/PA Wire
Mary Duncan was 17 when she was last seen leaving her home in Bonhill, West Dunbartonshire. Picture: Police Scotland/PA Wire
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Three women whose sister disappeared more than 40 years ago have said they still hope her remains can be found so their family can be “complete again”.

Mary Duncan was 17 when she disappeared from her home in West Dunbartonshire in March 1976. Despite a major police investigation, no trace of the Bonhill teenager was ever found.

Her sisters said Police Scotland officers are planning to excavate land in the area in the search for Mary, who would have turned 60 today.

Marion McFarlane said: “It would be wonderful for us to get her back, especially at this time.

“We should be having a birthday party, buying balloons and celebrating Mary’s 60th birthday with her and her children and maybe grandchildren.

“That’s a whole generation that is missing from our family. Our grandkids are growing up and every time we have a birthday or anniversary we are reminded Mary’s not here and her kids and grandkids are not here.”

She added: “We’ve had 42 years now and we want to be able to grieve properly instead of wondering where she is and what has happened. We just want to know the whole story.”

Mary told her family she was going to meet a friend, but never returned to her home in the town’s Third Avenue. She was last seen wearing a navy skirt, black platform shoes, green hooded zip top, and a black and white dogstooth coat.

At the time, she had a 13-month-old daughter, Laura, and police described Mary as a “devoted mother”. Laura died of natural causes the following October.

Sister Debbie Rennick said: “Cases go cold and there’s not much you can do about it. But I feel that since the middle of last year, things were moving forward and I have more confidence that it is being investigated thoroughly.

“Over the years we’ve come to realise she is no longer alive. But this investigation gaining momentum has given us hope that we might get some kind of resolution.”

Mary’s other sister, Mandy Duncan, added: “I really hope this is the end of it now and we are going to find Mary after this. The police have given me hope. I hope we get what we want. We just want to finish it and bring her home so our family is complete again.”

The three sisters made an appeal for information about Mary’s whereabouts last July as detectives renewed work on the case.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We are not in a position to confirm any details. This is still an ongoing inquiry.”