Police investigation as skull is found in hunt for Ian Brady and Myra Hindley’s final victim
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Greater Manchester Police are searching the area where Ian Brady and Myra Hindley buried their victims following the discovery of what is thought to be a human skull on Saddleworth Moor.
Most of the bodies of those killed by Brady and Hindley have already been recovered, but the remains of 12-year-old Keith Bennett have never been found.
The young boy was last seen on 16 June, 1964, and the two killers have never revealed the whereabouts of his body.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said they were alerted to a discovery at 11:25am on Thursday (29 September) by a representative of author Russell Edwards, who has assembled a team of experts in attempt to find Keith's remains.
"Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest," the police said.
Officers assessed the site and have confirmed that 'specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity' this morning.
"We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind."
GMP have stressed that it is 'far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered', adding that confirmation of the remains is 'expected to take some time'.
“We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family," they continued.
"As such, we have informed his brother of the potential development - he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected.”
Though the police cannot yet confirm whether the discovery is of human remains, Dawn Keen, who specialises in the study of human remains and who remotely supervised Edwards' dig, said she believes the remains are human.
According to the Mail Online, Keen commented: "They [police] have got to look. From the photographs, I saw the teeth, I could see the canines, I could see the incisors, I could see the first molar. It is the left side of an upper jaw. There is no way that it is an animal."
The findings on the moor are thought to be a skull which belonged to a child around the age of 12, the same age Keith was when he disappeared. They are also said to include what experts believe to be a child's upper jaw with a full set of teeth, as well as a small sample of material, thought to be clothing, buried three feet underground.
Following the discovery, detectives are preparing to exhume the area while also examining potential samples of body tissue taken from the area. Investigators may be able to extract DNA from the tissue to determine the identity of the remains.
Edwards conducted extensive soil analysis which indicated the presence of human remains just a few hundred yards from the site where the remains of Hindley and Brady's other victims were found, before commencing a dig under the supervision of a geologist and expert archaeologist.
He began to smell a scent 'like a sewer' about two feet into the dig, explaining: "It was on my clothes I stank of it. The soil reeked. I worked as a gravedigger when I was 19 that hits you, that smell of death. It is distinctive… I was overjoyed. Then we found blue and white stripped material. Then I stopped. I put everything back as I found it."
Edwards hopes the discovery will bring pace and closure for Keith and his family.