Detectives investigating the disappearance of a Renee MacRae and her son more than 40 years are to search a quarry near Inverness.
Mrs MacRae, 36, and three-year-old Andrew vanished on 12 November, 1976 – their burnt-out BMW was later found in a lay-by on the A9.
An investigation into their disappearance has been ongoing since then and is now led by Police Scotland's Major Investigation Team.
Detectives have been carrying out a review of all of the evidence gathered over more than four decades, which has led directly to the search of Leanach quarry, which is expected to start in the coming days.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Brian Geddes said: “This is a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the murders of Renee and Andrew MacRae.
“Work is now underway to carry out a forensic search of Leanach quarry where we believe key pieces of evidence may have been concealed.
“A key part of this operation is to recover the remains of Renee and Andrew if they are within the quarry, and gather evidence vital to this on-going investigation.
“We are working with a number of different partners on what will be a challenging and complex operation expected to last several weeks. I would also like to thank local landowners for their co-operation in this inquiry.
“The quarry has previously been deemed too dangerous to search using divers, which is why the decision has been made to pump the water completely from the site.
He added: “We will thereafter remove the sediment from the quarry, which will allow specialist search officers and forensic experts to carry out a meticulous search of the material."
In 2004, police searched Dalmagarry quarry near the A9 but no bodies were found.
Two years later a report naming a suspect was sent to prosecutors but they decided there was insufficient evidence to take action.
In 2016, police said a ground-penetrating radar report carried out near where Mrs MacRae’s car was found had indicated “an anomaly” in the road surface. However, that section of the road had not been under construction at the time of the disappearance.