Families of missing people are being contacted by police following the discovery of a human bone on an Angus beach.
Although investigations into a walker’s grim find at Lunan Bay on Wednesday are still being described as at an early stage, Police Scotland confirmed today that the fragment is human and efforts are being made to reach those whose loved ones are missing.
It is understood that the process of identifying the bone fragment will, however, take some time and the families’ notification will extend well beyond the loved ones of Angus missing persons.
The piece of bone was found on Wednesday afternoon on the beach at Lunan Bay, a popular spot between Arbroath and Montrose.
A team of around half a dozen police officers returned to the area between Redcastle and Ethie Haven on Thursday to continue a search of the foreshore and the sand dunes there.
It is understood that no further skeletal remains were found and police did not return to the locus today.
In a brief statement a spokesperson said: “Police Scotland can confirm that families of missing persons have been contacted after a fragment of human bone was recovered from Lunan Bay, Montrose. Enquiries are continuing.”
Forensic examination of the bone is now getting underway and that is likely to be followed by a battery of tests aimed at extracting DNA from the fragment and determining the identity of the person to whom it belongs.
There are a number of outstanding missing persons cases in Angus, but the nature of the North Sea tidal systems on Scotland’s east coast mean that there are no guarantees the bone belongs to someone reported missing locally, and could even have originated from anywhere in the UK or as far afield as Scandinavia or the Low Countries of western Europe.
Police notification in such cases is usually carried out via the National Crime Agency UK Missing Persons Bureau.
Findings from the inquiry will then be reported through the bureau to forces through the country.
A number of missing person cases are still open in the Angus area, including an Arbroath woman who was last seen around the town cliffs last March , Ian Mowatt from Arbroath who has been missing since 2007 and 51-year-old Montrose woman Lorraine McRae who was last seen in November 2014.
Ludo Gonda, who stayed at Woodlea Caravan Park, was the subject of international police enquiries in the weeks and months following his disappearance in 2009.
He has never been traced after his bicycle, fishing equipment and rucksack were discovered at the foot of Arbroath cliffs by a passer-by, sparking a multi-agency search for the Slovakian national.
The National Crime Agency UK site at www.missingpersons.police.uk collates and publicises information about unidentified people and remains, enlisting the public to help maximise the chances of identification.