Detectives probing the disappearance of a mother and her toddler daughter last night confirmed it is now a murder inquiry.
Meanwhile, forensic teams were continuing to scour a house in Dundee after a 50-year-old man was charged in connection with the deaths of Bennylyn Burke, 25, and her two-year-old daughter.
She and her two daughters had been reported missing on 1 March, 11 days after leaving their home in Bristol. Police said one girl has been found and was being cared for last night.
Witnesses in Troon Avenue, in the city’s Ardler neighbourhood, said they saw a man being led away by police on Friday afternoon.
The street remained sealed off yesterday as teams of forensic officers in white suits entered the house. One used a video camera to film inside the kitchen and camera flashes were seen from behind closed blinds in every room of the house. The kitchen windows were later covered by yellow plastic screens to block the view. Police also set up a large blue tent in the front garden while detectives made door-to-door inquiries.
Amy Whyte, 39, who lives nearby, said: “A forensics van and two police cars pulled up and taped everything off. It was quite scary.
“Police told us not to speak to anyone about it. I was asked if I saw or heard anything because my garden backs on to the street. I couldn’t remember anything out of the ordinary. We’ve lived here for a year and it’s a quiet area.”
Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “Police told us it was a serious incident but we didn’t need to be concerned. I didn’t know what to think. Nothing like this has ever happened here.”
Police Scotland confirmed a link with the search for Bennylyn Burke, who was reported missing on March 1. She was last seen at her home in Bristol on February 17. Her family were at her home in Staple Hill but declined to comment.
Avon and Somerset Police had previously appealed for information about Bennylyn and her two children, saying: “We’re increasingly concerned for her and her children’s welfare and are asking for anyone who sees Bennylyn or knows where she may be to contact us.”
Yesterday Avon and Somerset Police said Police Scotland was now leading the investigation.
Last night, Detective Superintendent Graeme Mackie of Police Scotland’s Major Investigation Team (MIT) said there would be an increased police presence in the area for some time. He added: “We are now treating the disappearances as a murder investigation and I would urge anyone with any information to please come forward and speak to us.
“This is a complex inquiry involving both local officers in Dundee and specialist resources from across Police Scotland. Bennylyn’s next of kin have been updated on the arrest and are being supported by colleagues from Avon and Somerset Police.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this very difficult time.”
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