Human remains linked to missing woman

POLICE are trying to establish whether human remains found in woods earlier this year are those of a woman who went missing in Essex nearly 20 years ago.

By Juliette Maxam

POLICE are trying to establish whether human remains found in woods earlier this year are those of a woman who went missing in Essex nearly 20 years ago.

Bones from a woman's body were discovered by a walker in Hatch Forest, Woodford, in March this year.

Two post mortem examinations were carried out on the remains and the Metropolitan Police have made extensive enquiries but it is still not known how the woman died or who she was. Further tests are planned.


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Pathologists said the bones were that of a woman aged in her 40s who had died some 20 years ago.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police have trawled through missing persons records in Essex and London and believe the body could be that of Claire Harvey, of Writtle, who was reported missing on January 14, 1985, and has not been seen or heard of since.

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Ms Harvey, was aged in her mid to late 40s and spoke with a soft Irish accent. Her last known address was in accommodation at Writtle Agricultural College.

Police are appealing for anyone with information that could help them find out what happened to Ms Harvey.

The bones found were a skull, ribs, femur and parts of spine. A purse containing a few coins was found nearby. One of the coins was dated 1980 and there were several half pennies.

There were also fragments of a red jacket with brass buttons a belt with large brass buckle and black shoes with a gold chain across the front and wedge shape heels.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Dell, of the Metropolitan Police serious crime directorate, is leading the missing persons enquiry and the unexplained death investigation.

He said: "We have carried out extensive enquiries to find out who this woman and how she died. We've been combing through missing persons records in that era both in London and Essex and this has led to Claire Harvey.

"I would like to hear from anybody who has any information about her whereabouts or knows what happened to her. Whilst I am not necessarily linking her disappearance to the death I need to be able to eliminate her from that enquiry."

Anyone with information about either investigation should contact the Metropolitan Police on 020 8217 6530 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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