The family of missing teenager Liam Smith have been informed after the discovery of a body in Aberdeenshire.
Police last night revealed a member of the public made the grim find in a remote woodland south of Banchory, at about 3pm yesterday.
Formal identification has yet to take place, but 16-year-old Liam’s family have been informed.
There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances into the death.
Liam disappeared on November 17 last year, after boarding a bus in Aberdeen bound for Banchory.
CCTV was not working on the bus, but a passenger reported the Westhill Academy pupil had got off in the Crathes area – prompting officers to focus their massive search operation in the area.
The tough terrain made it difficult for officers, and a helicopter, specialist dive teams and sniffer dogs were drafted in to help.
A walker found the body yesterday afternoon, seven miles away in the Craig of Affrusk area, on the other side of the River Dee.
A police spokesman said: “Formal identification has yet to take place but the family of 16-year-old Liam Smith has been notified.
We can confirm that the body of a male was found in a remote wooded area south of Banchory around 3pm this afternoon. Formal identification is yet to take place but the family of Liam Smith, 16, has been informed. Read more here: https://t.co/5tseuGFX0e
— NorthEastPolice (@NorthEPolice) March 22, 2019
“Inquiries are ongoing and there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.”
Last month, police scaled back their three month search and Liam’s devastated family admitted they had to be “realistic” about the challenges of finding him.
In a statement, they said: “We believe that Liam wasn’t feeling himself at the time he went missing and we would encourage any teenager who is feeling overwhelmed to speak to someone about their feelings.”
They said they had been “overwhelmed” at the huge public response to his disappearance, with thousands of people sharing appeals to bring the teen home.
And last night, as news of the find spread, hundreds of people sent condolences to the family through social media.
One woman said: “I have been following this since Liam went missing, and prayed that he would return.
“I am the mother of teenage sons, and I can’t imagine how you are feeling tonight, it’s heartbreaking.”
Another added: “So sad, how devastating for this family. Aberdeen will be a sad city tonight.”
Another said she was in tears reading the news, and said despite never meeting him she had thought of him daily.
“My heart breaks for this family and this poor young lad who has gone too soon,” she said. “Feels like he’s been in our lives as he has been in our thoughts daily since he disappeared.”