Police in Inverkip, Scotland have sealed off a house in the search for a missing woman last seen by her family 17 years ago. The only two people known to have seen Margaret Fleming, 36, in that time are her two carers, who reported her missing in October 2016.
The garden of a house in Main Road, Inverkip is now being dug up and excavation work may be required. Greenock Major Investigations Team is assisting with the investigation.
The last independently-verified sighting of Fleming, who is thought to have learning difficulties, was at a family gathering on 17 December 1999. She lived with her father in Port Glasgow until October1995, when he passed away and she moved in with her mother and grandparents. She is thought to have attended James Watt College in Greenock from 1996-98, and police are keen to speak to anybody who may have known her there.
In 1997, Fleming moved in with two carers in Inverkip, near Greenock and became estranged from her mother. There have been no confirmed sightings since then. The two carers reported her missing on 28 October.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Livingstone said: "Apart from her carers, the last independent sighting of Margaret was in 1999. This, along with facts such as having no trace of a job, few friends that are contactable, and no evidence of her contact with partner agencies and local services, has led me to become very concerned for her whereabouts and well-being."
DCI Livingstone continued: "One line of enquiry that I now must consider is the possibility that Margaret may have come to some harm. It's important that we keep an open mind to all lines of enquiry but the distinct lack of information about Margaret is concerning. However, we cannot rule anything out at this point and officers will continue to follow up enquiries about where Margaret has been."
DCI Livingstone said the carers told police that Fleming may have had friends they were not aware of and may have had a private side to her life. Posters have been put up locally but Mail Online reported that no-one in Inverkip recognised her.
Fleming is 5ft 5 inches tall, of heavy build, with collar-length black hair and brown eyes. Her carers said that when last seen on 28 October, she was wearing a green coloured tartan fleece or jumper, dark coloured jeans or trousers and dark Karrimor-type boots and carrying a satchel-like handbag.