Mary Ferns is an 88 year old woman from Livingston in West Lothian, who disappeared on 17th June 2008. You can find an original BBC report of her disappearance here. Mary had left her home in Vancouver Avenue to shop at Livingston’s Almondvale Centre. She never returned, and her disappearnace was reported to the police.
A CCTV search found that she had boarded a bus to Edinburgh, where she was seen walking outside Jenner’s department store. There were no CCTV images of her returning.
I was abroad on holiday at the time, but I spotted the story because I had lived in Vancouver Avenue from 1996 to 2003 and remembered Mary. Bus CCTV can be unreliable, and the police seemed to have accepted that she may have made it back to Livingston. Various searches were carried out and in 2010 a body was discovered. in a neighbouring area of the town. This turned out to be another missing person, James Adams.
The other story in the local press at the time was the theft of a large number of manhole covers. Here is an article from the Daily Record, in July 2008, about the investigation into those thefts. Is there a connection? One possible scenario is that Mary Ferns returned to Livingston and fell through an open manhole or drain cover. No body has ever been found, but it took 15 years to find the remains of James Adams.
This is lime of enquiry which I hope the police did follow up on, but I have never seen it mentioned in any of their updates on the case.