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Investigators will excavate six “anomalies” found in a toilet area at a cafe where a suspected teenage victim of Fred West is feared to have been buried.
Mary Bastholm, who worked at the cafe in Gloucester, went missing in January 1968 aged 15 but her body was never found.
Police have been digging up the basement of the Clean Plate Cafe after examining the evidence.
A production company filming an ITV documentary at the diner tipped officers off after finding an image of blue material in one area of the cellar.
It is the same colour as the coat Mary was wearing when she vanished.
Fred West, who was a regular at the diner which was then called the Pop-In Cafe, was previously a suspect in the disappearance of the teen.
He is said to have told his son Stephen that he had killed Mary but never admitted it to police, according to the Mirror.
West, along with his wife Rose West, raped and murdered multiple women over 20 years.
He killed himself in 1995 before he could stand trial.
In a statement on Monday, Detective Chief Inspector John Turner said: "The analysis from our experts and the material provided by the production company means there is enough evidence to justify excavation work beginning.
"I've spoken to the family and was so impressed by their quiet dignity and gratitude for all the work we’ve done and will be doing.
"They understand it is possible we won't find human remains but they also know that we will do everything we can to establish if Mary is buried at this location.
"This will be slow and painstaking work but we have the best people on it and I can reassure our communities that all involved, from my team of investigators, our scenes of crime officers, search officers and family liaison officers to the forensic archaeologists who will continue their work are absolutely committed to the job ahead.
"In the meantime, I continue to ask for patience and understanding from all those affected by our ongoing presence at the café and thank everyone who has helped us in the last ten days."
Mary's family said in a statement: "Senior Investigating Officer John Turner has sat with us and explained the ongoing investigation as well as his intentions to excavate the café to try and find Mary.
"We are extremely happy Gloucestershire Constabulary is continuing to try and search for Mary and this gives us a chance to potentially put her at rest after all these years.
"We want to thank everyone who has wished us support through this distressing time, and we are continuing to be in close touch with the investigation team, and are being kept up to date with any new developments.
"We hope this is a chance to finally get closure for Mary and would like to continue to ask for privacy whilst the excavation is ongoing."
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- Fred West
- Rose West
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