POLICE searching for a missing woman have found a body in woodland.
The family of Heather McKay have been informed of the find near Dechmont, West Lothian, on Tuesday.
The discovery was made 11 days after Ms McKay was last seen. A post-mortem examination is expected to be held today at the earliest, followed by a formal identification.
Police said yesterday there was nothing to suggest the death was suspicious.
The find is a devastating development for Ms McKay’s children, Kevin and Andrea Waddell, who made an emotional appeal on Friday.
They have put up posters, launched a Facebook page called “Heather McKay Missing Person”, and attempted to get #findheather trending on Twitter.
A tearful Andrea said on Friday: “Mum, I love you. I miss you. I need you here.”
The 24-year-old beautician, from Uphall, added: “She’d always talk to me. We’re more like sisters, best friends, than mum and daughter.”
Ms McKay had stayed with a friend in Dechmont and waved her off to work on Friday, 24 August, at 7:30am.
An hour later, another friend called round to see her, but she was nowhere to be found. Two days later, a search party, including a large number of volunteers, combed Dechmont without success.
The area of woodland where the body was found is about 500 metres from Ms McKay’s friend’s house.
Ms McKay, 51, was known to text and use Facebook frequently, but all forms of communication ceased.
Yesterday, messages of sympathy were left on Ms McKay’s Facebook appeal page.
Ashlee McKinlay wrote: “Keeping my fingers crossed that it is just a coincidence, and no matter what the outcome is, I hope Heather’s family get a reason as to why this has happened, and that it helps them.”
Lyndsey Mackenzie added: “Really praying the body found isn’t Heather’s.
“My heart goes out to Andrea and her family, could never imagine the pain they must be going through.”
Ms McKay, a care worker, had spoken to her daughter the night before she went missing about getting a one-bedroom flat. Ms Waddell, whose father died in 1999, said that she had sounded “upbeat”.
She had recently split from her partner Gary Winters, 45, an NHS worker.
He had been among those searching woodland since her disappearance.
A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said yesterday: “Officers searching for a missing person from West Lothian have this afternoon found the body of a woman.
“The discovery was made at around 1:30pm in dense woodland between the A89 just south of Dechmont and the M8 motorway at Livingston by Lothian and Borders Police search teams and members of Border Search and Rescue team.
“Formal identification will take place following a post-mortem examination. In the meantime, the family of missing woman Heather McKay have been informed.”