Police called off their week-long search for Keith Bennett’s tomb today after discovering no signs of human remains on Saddleworth Moor, despite fresh allegations made by an author.
After author Russell Edwards claimed to have discovered the improvised burial of 12-year-old Keith, who was killed in 1964 by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, archaeologists started looking in the region last week.
Following “extensive soil examination,” Mr. Edwards claimed to have discovered the child’s remains. He is alleged to have started his own excavation near the scene of the other Moors Murder victims’ discovery and recovered a skull with teeth that independent specialists reportedly determined to be human.
But today, Greater Manchester Police said that it had given up on the investigation because “no evidence to suggest the existence of human remains” had been discovered after a “excavation by recognised forensic specialists.”
The police confirmed that while tests on what the author claims to be Keith’s bones have not yet shown the presence of human remains, more investigation is necessary.
They said that the possibility that the item is “plant-based” “could not be ruled out.”
“In response to the complaint made on Thursday, September 29, detectives met with the member of the public who subsequently gave us samples and copies of the images he had taken,” said Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Hughes. He also gave grid references and led authorities to the spot where he had acquired them.
Since then, GMP’s crime scene investigators and independent licensed forensic archaeologists and certified forensic anthropologists have conducted a thorough forensic archaeological excavation and analysis of the specified region and surrounding areas.
A number of soil samples were also taken by a certified forensic geologist, and their examination is still underway. A forensic scientist has looked over the objects the member of the public gave us, albeit this hasn’t yet revealed the existence of human remains; more investigation is needed.
We have enlisted the help of a forensic botanist in respect to the picture. We are now using the expertise of a forensic picture specialist to the item in order to apply a common anthropological measurement that will aid in identifying.
The signs point to it being much smaller than a juvenile jaw at this point, and it cannot be ruled out that it is plant-based. After extensive digging and inspection, we can state unequivocally that there is no proof that Keith Bennett was buried there.
Keith’s family was “essential” to any action in the matter, said Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Jackson, and the police “remains dedicated” to bringing them closure.
We have always said that we would react to any reliable information that may help us locate Keith in a fast and proper manner. What that reaction looks like is shown by our recent actions, in which the force has made use of the expertise and abilities of certified specialists, specialized officers, and employees.
Despite police claims to the contrary, author Mr. Edwards said this morning that he is “convinced” he located the boy’s remains.
In a two-year killing spree that shook the country, Brady and Hindley murdered five children between the ages of 10 and 17 between July 1963 and October 1965.
Keith left his home in Eston Street, Longsight, Manchester, in the early evening of June 16, 1964, on his way to his grandmother’s residence nearby. His mother last saw him there.
Brady and Hindley’s victims were Pauline Reade, 16, who vanished on her way to a dance on July 12, 1963; John Kilbride, 12; Lesley Ann Downey, 10; Edward Evans, 17, who was axed to death in October 1965; and Lesley Ann Downey, 10, who was enticed away from a funfair on Boxing Day, 1964.
After the murder of Edward Evans, Brady and Hindley were apprehended, and Lesley and John’s remains were found on the moor.
Only Pauline’s corpse was found after they were transferred to Saddleworth Moor to aid authorities in locating the remains of the other victims. Brady said he was unable to recall the location of Keith’s grave.
Police said that a stealthy search on the moor in 2009 that included several scientific specialists likewise turned up nothing.
Brady passed away in a high-security hospital in 2017 at the age of 79, while Hindley passed away in prison in 2002 at the age of 60.
Martin Bottomley, a force review officer for the Greater Manchester Detectives, stated in a statement after Brady’s passing: “It is extremely upsetting for the family of Keith Bennett because his murderers withheld the location of Keith’s grave from police.”
Almost every week, we get information that claims to point us in the direction of Keith, but ultimately, only two persons were aware of his whereabouts.
Greater Manchester Police have vowed to never end this investigation. Brady’s passing doesn’t alter that. We shall take action based on reliable and useful information that may help us find him.
His mother, Winnie Johnson, passed away in 2012 at the age of 78 without carrying out her desire to bury Keith in a Christian cemetery, 48 years after his passing.
Brady, a Nazi-obsessed psychopath who had a formal diagnosis in 1985, ridiculed Keith Bennett’s brother Alan Bennett, who is now 66, in a revolting letter in 1991.
Brady maintained that he would include “special instructions” in his will describing how to locate the child’s remains, but no such instructions were ever included.
When the most current hunt began, Alan posted on social media that “hundreds of things were rushing through my head.”
On Facebook, he voiced his skepticism, writing: “Apart from assuming this is the spot for Keith and all the past burials have been shallow, why, if the police were escorted to the area, has nothing been found as of yet?”
I can’t help but feel like we’ve been here before.
There is more to this than meets the eye, and I cannot understand why the guy seems to have not been precise in his statement to the police regarding the location, Alan said. I am simply becoming upset, annoyed, bewildered, and experiencing a lot more emotions.
After his statements about his years of research, there is no way he could have forgotten the specific location. Several of the many ideas that were racing through my head.
Just to be very clear about this. I’m not claiming there is nothing there; rather, I’m just stating that I and a lot of other people are at the very least perplexed.
I’m not claiming there is nothing there, he said, but I will say that I, along with many others, am at best perplexed.
Although nobody can rule anything else out, Alan said that he thought Keith’s bones would not be discovered at the spot being investigated.