Archaeologists have finished excavating the main scene as part of the renewed search for Moorsman murder victim Keith Bennett and found “no visible evidence” of human remains, police said.
Greater Manchester Police said “no bones, tissue or objects of interest” were found in the area, which was recently brought to the attention of police by a member of the public investigating the schoolboy’s murder.
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The search is continuing in the wider Saddleworth Moor area of the Peak District and soil samples have been taken for analysis.
Keith was 12 when he was murdered by Glasgow-born Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964 and his body has never been found.
The Daily Mail reported last month that author Russell Edwards believed he had found the young man’s makeshift grave on Saddleworth Moor, and on September 30 archaeologists began searching the area.
On Tuesday, GMP said a “thorough survey of the initial area” had been completed and officers moved into the surrounding area to ensure nothing was missed.
Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Hughes said: “Forensic archaeologists and forensic anthropologists have completed a methodical archaeological dig and investigation of an area previously excavated and filled in by members of the public.
“No bones, cloth or interesting objects were found in the soil.
“These accredited and certified forensic experts are now continuing a methodical and controlled excavation of the area immediately surrounding the original site to provide a higher level of confidence in the presence or absence of any items of interest.
“Additional soil samples have been taken for analysis, but at this time there is no visible evidence of human remains.
“Investigation of the scene is ongoing.”
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She added: “We have seen an outpouring of support since this news broke, so we know how our communities feel about this case, but we ask members of the public not to travel to the area and we can assure them that we will provide timely and relevant information . .”
Detective Constable Hughes said GMP kept Keith’s family informed each time stage search.
Keith was last seen by his mother in the early evening of June 16, 1964, after he had left his house in Aston Street, Longsight, Manchester, on his way to his grandmother’s house next door.
Brady and Hindley killed a total of five people and three were later found buried on Saddleworth Moor.
The victims were: 16-year-old Pauline Reed, who disappeared on her way to a disco on July 12, 1963; John Kilbride, 12, who was abducted in November of that year; 10-year-old Leslie Ann Downey, lured from the fair on Boxing Day 1964; and Edward Evans, 17, who was axed to death in October 1965.
Brady and Hindley were caught after the murder of Edward Evans, and the bodies of Leslie and John were recovered from the bog.
They were taken to Saddleworth Moor to help police find the remains of the other victims, but only Pauline’s body was found.
Brady claimed he didn’t remember where he buried Keith.
In 2009, police said an undercover search operation in the moor, which used a large number of scientific experts, also turned up no trace of the boy.
Hindley died in prison in 2002 aged 60, while Brady died in a high-security hospital in 2017 aged 79.
In 2012 – 48 years after Keith’s death – his mother, Winnie Johnson, died at the age of 78, not fulfilling her wish to give him a Christian burial.