A MISSING mother of two had just broken up with her boyfriend when she disappeared, police revealed today.
• Police say nothing to suggest anything suspicious about Heather McKay’s disappeance
• Officers praise “astonishing response” from public to appeal so far
The 51-year-old was last seen a week ago at a friend’s house where she was staying after the breakdown of her relationship.
Officers say they are increasingly concerned for the safety of the care worker from Uphall, West Lothian, who would hardly ever go more than two days without texting her daughter.
Heather was on annual leave from her job with the NHS when she disappeared.
She had been living with her boyfriend at an undisclosed location but following the split went to stay with a friend in Dechmont, West Lothian.
The friend last saw her when she left for work at 7.30am on Friday, August 24. When another friend called for her an hour later she had gone, leaving behind her mobile phone.
Heather’s daughter, Andrea Waddell, appeared today at a press conference to make an emotional plea for information, accompanied by her 27-year-old brother Kevin.
The 24-year-old from nearby Broxburn said: “She’s never gone before, it’s completely out of character.
“I could be at work and she’d phone me. I never went 2-3 days without texting her.”
Andrea, who broke down in tears several times during the conference, said she was worried her mother had left her mobile behind.
She said: “Mum would always leave a note if she was going out, and she didn’t take her phone.”
Andrea said the break-up of her mother’s relationship had hit her hard.
“The night before she went missing we had a discussion. She was really up-beat. She made plans for Friday to start looking for a new house. She said, ‘I’ll
see you at lunchtime’.”
Andrea told her mother everything was going to be fine, she said, and that when they looked back on this break-up in months to come, it would all seem silly.
The 24-year-old added: “Even if she doesn’t want to come home, let us know you’re OK.
“Me and Kevin are here for you. I love you. Just come home.”
Kevin Waddell said: “The last night I saw her she was her usual bubbly self. She is always caring for everyone else, this is so out of character.”
Heather’s sister, Deidre McKay, flew from her home in Alicante, Spain, to help in the search.
She told reporters: “You just need to look at the children’s faces.
“I think she is somewhere with someone but maybe just not ready to come home.”
The family suspect that Heather could be staying with someone at the moment but just want to know she is safe and well.
Andrea said: “I think mum’s somewhere with someone. I need to know where she is.”
Inspector Neill Whiteside of Lothian and Borders police said: “Today we are one week on and police are still in the Dechmont area. They are asking people to reflect back seven days now that they know she is missing.”
He said there was nothing to suggest anything suspicious about Heather’s disappearance.
“There have been another few unconfirmed sightings of Heather. These were in Dechmont around mid-morning on the day she went missing.
“CCTV has also been checked and her phone and bank cards are actively being looked at.
“There has been no suggestion of criminality or foul play. It is a high risk missing person, we are concerned for her well-being.”
He added: “All avenues are still open. We hope this appeal jogs memories and helps our enquires.”
The officer said there had been an “astonishing response” from the public.
“We just want to piece together all of the information and look at it fresh today to see is there are new lines of enquiry,” he said.
Shortly before the press conference, police stopped cars in the area to ask for information about the care worker.
Posters have also been displayed across Edinburgh asking people to help find her.
Police confirmed that a search of the house where she was last seen had been carried out.
Heather was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue Berghaus rain jacket and Hi-Tech walking boots.
If you have any information on where Heather might be, contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131.