POLICE are speaking to a great-grandmother who turned up safe and well following a two-day disappearance in a bid to learn why she vanished after going out to buy a steak pie.
Irene McCawley turned up at a relative’s home in Bathgate, West Lothian, shortly before 5pm yesterday after being missing since around 9am on Wednesday.
Police said that the 77-year-old was unharmed but are working to establish where she has been since her disappearance from her home in the Boghall area of the town.
The pensioner was taken to Livingston police station to be “debriefed” after police officers leading the search for her learned of the sudden reappearance.
Mrs McCawley had left her house to shop at a nearby butchers, a five-minute journey she had made thousands of times, when she was last seen.
Just hours before she returned yesterday, two of her distraught sons appealed for information that could help trace their mother.
The youngest of her three sons, James McCawley, 41, had said: “This is totally out of character. She’s a private person with a routine of going to the same shops, taking the same buses. There’s only a few family and friends that she would go to see.
“There’s been nothing at all to suggest she would do this. It’s very odd that nobody has seen her.
“Her grandchildren are missing her and we’re all worried about her. She’s a very family orientated person.”
Mr McCawley said that he had been alerted by a neighbour at around 6.30pm on Wednesday to tell him that his mother was missing.
He added: “We rushed around and dad said that mum had left to go to the butcher and hadn’t come back. We went straight to Bathgate police station to report it.
“She told my dad she was off to get a steak pie. She was at the butchers every second day.”
Making his appeal for information about his mother’s whereabouts, her oldest son, Gilbert, 60, had said: “She’s a creature of habit. She wouldn’t change her routine for anybody. To get up and just go is not my mother. She would have told the family if she planned to go.”
Mrs McCawley has lived in Boghall for the last 41 years. Born in Glasgow, she has been with her retired steel worker husband, James, 78, for more than 60 years and the couple also have a daughter and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Her disappearance sparked a massive police search operation, which included aerial searches by an RAF helicopter.
Specialist search teams yesterday carried out searches in Bathgate and the surrounding countryside.
She had left her home to visit Boghall Butchers in Elizabeth Drive. She did not arrive at the shop, and had not been seen or heard from since then.