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Tuesday, 22 March 2016
Clydebank body is murdered missing girl Paige Doherty
A murder inquiry has been launched after a body found in Clydebank was confirmed as that of missing local teenager Paige Doherty.
The 15-year-old, whose family home is in the West Dunbartonshire town, was last seen on Saturday morning.
Her body was discovered in a wooded area, just off Great Western Road, at about 12:45 on Monday.
Ms Doherty's family said they were "absolutely devastated" after police confirmed she had been murdered.
Posting on Facebook, the teenager's mother Pamela Munro wrote: "We are absolutely devastated, as will many people who know her will be xxx."
Det Supt Duncan Sloan, of Police Scotland's major investigations unit, confirmed that a murder inquiry was under way during a news conference on Tuesday.
He told reporters: "The body of a 15-year-old girl who was found here yesterday, I can now confirm was positively identified as Paige Doherty who was reported missing from Clydebank on Saturday evening.
"I want to announce that this is being treated as a murder investigation."
The schoolgirl, who was 4ft 8in and slim, with long dark hair, was wearing a dark jacket, jeans and white Nike trainers when she went missing.
She was last seen at about 08:15 on Saturday when she left a friend's house in Clydebank and it is thought she was making her way to a bus stop to travel to the hairdressers where she worked in Kirkintilloch, about 12 miles away.
The alarm was raised later when she did not show up.
Missing posters were put up around the town and a dedicated Facebook page was set up to help find her.
Det Supt Sloan said officers were trying to trace Ms Doherty's movements.
"I am appealing to members of the public - we need to piece together the movements of Paige from 8.20am on Saturday when she went missing until we find the body at around 1pm on Monday," he said.
"Anybody who knows Paige, please come forward with any information around her lifestyle or any reason why you think somebody would have attacked Paige."
The detective said this was a "harrowing time" for Ms Doherty's family and said his heart went out to them.
He described the teenager as a "warm" girl with a future planned ahead of her and said he was "open to all motives" for the murder.
"Paige was a young, friendly girl with plenty of friends and for her life to be taken away so brutally at such a young age is unfathomable to everyone," he added.
Laura Mason, chief education officer at West Dunbartonshire Council, also paid tribute to the teenager.
She said: "Paige was a bright and popular pupil with a good sense of humour.
"Our thoughts are with Paige's family and friends, and we are doing everything we can to support our young people at this sad time."
Det Supt Sloan did not reveal what injuries the teenager sustained but said a post-mortem examination would be held on Tuesday afternoon to determine the exact cause of death.
He added: "We will do all in our power to investigate this and bring some answers as to the circumstances leading to the death of Paige Doherty."
Forensic officers were continuing to work at the site where her body was found. A large area is cordoned off and a police tent remains in place.