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Police are digging under a cafe for the remains of a 15-year-old girl feared murdered by serial killer Fred West, reports say.
Mary Bastholm was last seen waiting at a bus stop on January 6 1968.
She is believed to have been offered a lift then killed by the House of Horrors monster.
Her parents died never knowing what happened to their daughter whose body was never found.
Police were on Tuesday excavating the basement of the Clean Plate cafe in Gloucester where she worked as a waitress, reported The Sun.
Officers said the search was launched following a "recent discovery" and could take a "number of weeks".
It comes 26 years after West killed himself after being jailed for murders thought to taken place from 1967 to 1987, some seven years before his arrest in 1994.
Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said: "This could be a significant development on a case which has gained a lot of public interest over the years.
"On the basis of the information provided to us, we consider this to be new and potentially important evidence in the case of Mary Bastholm, however further detailed assessments will take place over the following few days to determine the extent of excavation needed.
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"The Constabulary has always said any fresh evidence would be reviewed. This has happened and a focused and proportionate investigation will now take place."
But Gloucestershire Police are likely to face questions over why they waited so long to excavate the cafe which first came to their attention when Fred and Rose West were arrested in 1994.
With the help of his wife Rose, Fred murdered at least 12 young women – most were raped, tortured, and mutilated first.
Rose West 'given Covid vaccine in jail' after doctors brand her 'extremely vulnerable'
The evil couple would then bury their victims’ remains in the cellar or their house of horrors at 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester.
Mary's family had previously urged Rose West to tell them what happened to the missing teen.
And the serial killer's own lawyer suggested in 2019 she could have been an accomplice in Mary's disappearance.
Their home is half a mile from the cafe where West was a regular customer when it was known as The Pop In and Mary disappeared.
The builder is also said to have laid a concrete floor in the basement of the eaterie a month before Mary went missing.
Before killing himself, West reportedly confessed to murdering Mary to son Stephen and Janet Leach, a social worker who acted as West’s 'appropriate adult' during police questioning.
A source told The Sun: "This is an extraordinary development which will hopefully finally solve the mystery of what happened to Mary.
"She went missing more than half a century ago and clearly great care is being taken on the excavation to preserve any remains and potential forensic evidence."
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