MOIRA Anderson, the 11-year-old who vanished almost 60 years ago, may have been buried on farmland a few miles from where she disappeared, according to a cold case investigation team.
Three key witnesses have come forward with crucial information, which detectives believe could break the case wide open and reveal the tragic youngster’s final resting place. No trace of the schoolgirl has been found since she vanished while running an errand in 1957.
This is the best chance we have to get closureSandra Brown
Witnesses have now reported seeing a parked bus near a key search site, which police have deemed highly significant, as Moira is believed to have been killed by paedophile bus driver Alexander Gartshore.
Gartshore’s daughter Sandra Brown, who has spearheaded the search for more than 20 years, said: “This is the best chance we have ever had to get closure for all those affected.”
Evidence from the three witnesses has led detectives to focus on a copse of trees off Yetts Hole Road between Glenmavis and Glenboig in Lanarkshire.
Forensic experts have already carried out a series of preliminary tests at the site and will present their findings to the Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland this week. The evidence is thought to run to more than 100 pages.
Moira vanished during a snowstorm on 23 February 1957 after catching a bus to go shopping. It later emerged the bus was driven by convicted paedophile Gartshore.
A witness has come forward claiming a bus similar to the one she boarded was seen parked on a narrow country lane running next to a cattle farm near the copse.
All the vehicle’s lights were turned off and the driver was nowhere to be seen. By morning the bus had gone.
It is thought the bus sighting may have been reported to police at the time Moira disappeared but its significance could have been overlooked or discounted.
Two women have also come forward to say that, as children, they were taken to the same area and abused by James Gallogley, a convicted paedophile and close friend of Gartshore.
Ms Brown, the person who first publicly accused Gartshore of Moira’s murder, said: “If Gallogley knew that location, you can be certain my father did.
“What on earth would a bus be doing off its route and down a country lane in the snow?
“The driver was taking a terrible risk, so clearly he feared something worse could happen to him than being stuck in the snow. Did he have something that he had to hide?”
The Crown Office took the unusual step last year of stating had Gartshore still been alive, he would have been charged with Moira’s murder after a witness came forward claiming they saw someone matching his description dragging her by the arms.
Despite his death in 2006 aged 85, the authorities remain determined to bring closure to Moira’s family.
Soil expert Professor Lorna Dawson, who helped catch World’s End killer Angus Sinclair, was drafted in to help find Moira and solve the case. Samples are understood to have been taken over the past two months at four key locations.