DETECTIVES hunting for the body of missing Gornal teen Natalie Putt, who disappeared 14 years ago, are today searching woodland in Lower Gornal.

After four graves were examined at Ruiton Cemetery in June this year, detectives received two phone calls which led them to Ellowes Hall Wood.

A detailed search is now being carried out utilising specialist search techniques, including members of the underwater search unit.

Halesowen News:

Detective Superintendent Tom Chisholm, head of homicide, told the News: “We initially searched this area when Natalie first went missing in August 2003, but then it was a different type of search as it was part of a missing person enquiry.

“But with the community intelligence we now have, and the fact that the investigation is now classed as a murder enquiry, the picture has changed significantly since then and we will be taking a more detailed look of the area.”

DS Chisholm said the ‘community intelligence’ which led the investigation back to the woods came from two separate sources who provided “completely new information that was not previously known to us prior to June 2017”.

“As such, it is considered essential to the investigation that this information is thoroughly followed up in the search for Natalie’s remains.”

Halesowen News:

Natalie, who would be 31 today, went missing on a trip to local shops in 2003, leaving behind her 11-week-old son.

DS Chisholm said he is “convinced” people living in the area hold “key information” to help solve Natalie’s disappearance.

“I would urge those people to come forward,” he added. “Places like these woods would be a likely place for someone to bury a body.

“I would ask people to think back over the last 14 years and to contact us if they thought they saw anything suspicious happening here.

“Over the years the person who is responsible for Natalie’s death will have confided in someone and I would also urge that confidante to come forward.”

Halesowen News:

Natalie’s family have been updated with the latest developments and are being supported by specialist officers throughout the investigation.

DS Chisholm said his heart goes out to the her family, especially her young son, adding: “Her family were given a life sentence when she disappeared in 2003, and we are determined to find out what actually happened to Natalie.”