St Andrews University has offered its support to the family of missing student Duncan Sim after a body was discovered in the town.
Meanwhile, police have resumed a search of the coastline near the iconic West Sands, where human remains were recovered from the foreshore on Sunday, and have urged members of the public to avoid the area.
In a letter to staff and students, the university’s principal Professor Sally Mapstone said: “All will be affected by this development and the media coverage which is already accompanying it, and I know everyone will be thinking today of Duncan’s family, and what they have been through these past three months.
“Our student services staff are in close touch with his family and offering all appropriate support.”
Duncan, 19, was last seen just after 11pm on Wednesday March 14 after leaving a social event at Madras Rugby Club.
The alarm was raised after the chemistry undergraduate, who is from Duns in the Borders and is a keen sportsman, failed to arrive back at his accommodation at Agnes Blackadder Hall.
He was last seen on CCTV near the Eden Clubhouse on St Andrews Links.
Police have informed Duncan’s family about the discovery at West Sands.
Prof Mapstone said: “Police Scotland are undertaking formal identification, but have been in touch with Duncan’s parents Sheila and Gordon at their home in Berwickshire. It may take several days before any further comment can be given.
“I know this immensely sad news will touch many people in our community, in the town and far beyond.”
Students, townsfolk and Duncan’s friends from both St Andrews and Duns turned out to support the search effort.
“The response to Duncan’s disappearance over two months ago was a typically selfless desire to help,” said Prof Mapstone.
“The volunteer searches were supported by hundreds of our own students and staff, many individuals and businesses from the town, and large groups of Duncan’s friends from around his home in Duns.”
Police Scotland said a member of the public alerted officers to the grim discovery at 6.25pm on Sunday.
A spokesperson for the force said: “Police in Fife are conducting search activity in St Andrews today after what is believed to be human remains were discovered within the water on Sunday evening.
“The activity will focus in the area of coastline adjacent to The Scores and the public are asked to avoid the area where possible.
“Inquiries are continuing and no formal identification has taken place.”